Germany has given the East African Community (EAC) a grant of $35 million (about Rwf40 billion) to implement regional integration projects in the areas of health, regional economic integration and education.
The EAC Secretary General, Libérat Mfumukeko, and the German Ambassador to the EAC, Detlef Wächter, signed the agreements in Arusha on Tuesday.
Germany’s commitment includes $14.5 million for the continuation of the joint financial cooperation programme under the “Regional Network of Reference Laboratories for Communicable Diseases” and EUR 3 million for the technical cooperation programme “Pandemic preparedness in the EAC Region”.
This will support the EAC’s efforts in fighting communicable diseases and strengthening the community’s ability to deal with pandemics, officials said.
According to a statement from the EAC secretariat, $10.7 million was committed to the continuation of the technical cooperation programme “Support to the EAC Integration Process” which aims to bolster the bloc’s intra-regional trade.
The project seeks to add value in productive sectors, better market access, improved customs processes and harmonised standards.
On the other hand, $1.1 million was committed to sustain efforts to strengthen regional infrastructure.
According to the statement, another $5.5 million will be spent on the EAC scholarship programme which supports the region’s master students
The German envoy underlined that Germany remains a strong supporter of the EAC and the organisations’ efforts to enhance regional integration in its different facets.
“Strengthening economic integration, supporting the EAC in addressing key health and education challenges are at the core of our joint cooperation. Regarding our health cooperation, we believe it is vital to support the secretariat and the EAC Partner States to be better positioned when it comes to epidemics and pandemics,” he noted.
On Germany’s commitment to the bloc’s education sector, the Ambassador said, they believe that regional integration agenda is futile if the youth and young generation are left behind.
The official indicated that the East African students that will benefit from the scholarship programme will not only have improved job prospects but they will become ambassadors for the East African Community.
“We need this young generation to carry the EAC’s vision forward,” the German envoy added.
Mfumukeko said that Germany and the EAC have historically had strong and cordial relations since the founding of the EAC almost 20 years ago.
“It is my sincere hope and trust that the EAC cooperation with Germany will grow stronger based on the already existing robust foundation of our common goals,’’ he said.