ESA countries to get European Union funds

Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) countries are to benefit from funds from the European Union said Justin Nsengiyumva, the secretary for the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Investment Promotion, Tourism and Cooperatives. 

Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) countries are to benefit from funds from the European Union said Justin Nsengiyumva, the secretary for the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Investment Promotion, Tourism and Cooperatives. 

The money will improve infrastructure developments, capacity building, and institutional development to export products that can compete at international markets.

The ESA region has requested this as part of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Development funds for addressing the supply side constraints should be provided at least partly by the EU to enable the ESA group to engage positively in the EPAs.

According to Nsengiyumva, the supply side constraints are infrastructure development, capacity building, and institutional development.

 Funds will help ESA countries by boosting production locally to meet the growing demand of goods at international markets.

EU countries are interested in market access from ESA countries while ESA countries are interested in developments to compete at international markets.

The EU projects in Rwanda include an oil pipeline that will connect Eldoret-Kenya to Kigali and the Isaka railway line with Tanzania and Rwanda.

The ESA region is engaged in negotiations with the European Union (EU) under the EU/ African Caribbean and Pacific countries Economic Partnership Agreement which is meant to replace the existing arrangements for trade as provided under the Cotonou agreement. 

Nsengiyumva said under the Cotonou agreement, ESA countries were working under a privileged trade treaty which provided ESA countries with non-trade tariffs.

“Under EPA, both sides will gain from trade in goods,” he said. “In a privileged trade treaty, only ESA countries have been gaining from non-trade tariffs but under EPA, ESA and EU will all gain from these tariffs.”

After the completion of the EPA in December, the ESA and EU countries will be free to trade without tariff barriers.

Some products however, are excluded from non-trade tariffs: milk, cars and other goods that cause a great expense to the country.

The meeting comes after the East African partner states including Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda have taken a common position to sign the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union as a bloc.

EPAs are arrangements between the EU and ACP that emphasize lifting barriers on their markets in respect to each other.

ESA-EPA is comprised of 16 countries including: Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Djibouti.

Others are Eritrea, Comoros, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Malawi, DRC, Mauritius, Madagascar and Seychelles.

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