Ministers responsible for social development in partner states of the East African Community (EAC) will meet next month to chart ways of eradicating poverty in the region.
The meeting to take place in Bujumbura, Burundi, will dwell on sharing experiences and harmonizing policies and approaches in management of cross-cutting social concerns.
The forum of ministers was established by the 13th Extra-Ordinary Meeting of the EAC council of ministers in 2007 in order to provide a platform for the ministers to share experiences.
The first meeting of the ministers took place in Kigali in September, last year, where the ministers made recommendations in four areas of cooperation which included; health and medical services, education, science and technology.
‘The forum is expected to evaluate the implementation of the recommendations made in Kigali and analyze the national consolidated reports prepared by the multicultural workings groups established in each Partner States,’ an EAC press statement reads.
While in Kigali, the ministers also made recommendations on issues such as; gender, youth, children, social protection and community development as well as environment and natural resources.
The forum is also expected also to discuss the draft EAC regional framework on social development.
Meanwhile, China has promised to offer 15,000 scholarships to young East Africans to study in China in various disciplines in the next three years.
The pledge was made recently during a meeting the EAC Secretary General Juma Mwapachu had with the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of China to the Tanzania Liu Xinsheng.
The Chinese envoy said that his country China is striving to increase trade with Africa targeted to reach $100bn by 2010 through the China Africa Development Bank.
He said China had signed Bilateral Trade Agreements with more than 40 African countries and to encourage and protect investment with 23 African countries, as well as agreement on Avoiding Double Taxation with 8 African countries.
Xinsheng disclosed that China had written off a total of 10.9 bn yuan debt among 31 African countries and also provided duty-free treatment to 190 export commodities.