EAC leaders to discuss bloc's sustainable financing mechanism

Heads of State of the East African Community (EAC) partner states are expected to meet in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, this week, for a summit that will, among others, discuss sustainable financing mechanisms for bloc’s activities.
 Some of the guests who attended EAC Heads of State Summit in Kampala on November 30, 2013. (File)
Some of the guests who attended EAC Heads of State Summit in Kampala on November 30, 2013. (File)

Heads of State of the East African Community (EAC) partner states are expected to meet in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, this week, for a summit that will, among others, discuss sustainable financing mechanisms for bloc’s activities.

In a statement, released yesterday,  the Minister for EAC Affairs, Amb Valentine Rugwabiza, said the new financing mechanisms are expected to be presented as per a directive by the Summit in November 2013 that tasked the Council of Ministers to present a report on alternative financing mechanisms, including the option of one per cent of imports from outside EAC.

This is one of the ways the bloc is looking at to reduce overreliance on donor aid, where going by the 2014/15 Budget passed by the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala), last year, out of the total budget of $124 million, member states contributed $41.9 million, while $73.2 million came from donors.

Other areas to be discussed include the creation of the One-Area Network that will ease telecommunication by residents in the five partner states.

“They will also discuss the extension of jurisdiction of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) to cover Trade, Investment and Monetary Union matters; negotiations for the admission of South Sudan into the EAC; and initiation of a constitution-making process and a road map for the EAC Political Federation,” the minister said.

A statement from the EAC Secretariat also said the meeting will appoint new judges to the EACJ and designate a new principal judge of the court.

The meeting will also consider the appointment of a new deputy secretary-general from Burundi to replace Jean Claude Nsengiyumva, whose tenure of office will end in April.

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta is scheduled to hand over the EAC chair to Tanzania’s Jakaya Kikwete.

The Summit was postponed from November, last year, as President Kikwete could not attend.

One-Area Network

Last year, the leaders of Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda called for the speedy implementation of the One-Area Network for SMS, data and mobile financial services to facilitate roaming phone use within the region.

The directive, mooted at last November’s Northern Corridor Integration Projects Summit in Nairobi, was effected earlier this year within the three countries and the initiative is set to be extended to the entire bloc.

 According to media reports, EAC leaders are expected to adopt alternative means to raise $100 million for the Central Corridor (Tanzania and Burundi) and Northern Corridor (Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Rwanda).

Kenya’s foreign affairs minister Amina Mohamed is quoted as saying that the Northern Corridor infrastructure projects will run as they are under the larger EAC infrastructure programme, and the same will apply to the Central Corridor projects.

Mohamed said: “The ultimate objective of both projects is minimising delays in the movement of goods and people across the region, which is the main agenda for the EAC integration.”

Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan want to construct crude oil and petroleum products pipelines to ease reliance on petroleum tankers with the delays involved, while the construction of the standard gauge railway (SGR), planned to run from Mombasa to Kigali, and also to South Sudan, has begun in Kenya.

In the central corridor, Tanzania and Burundi intend to construct a 200-kilometre SGR between Uvinza in Tanzania and Musongati in Burundi.

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