French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, has said that his country will do everything possible to help the East African Community (EAC) attain a monetary union.
Kouchner’s message was delivered on Wednesday by Ambassador Jacques Champagne de Labriolle, who was presenting his credentials as a Special Representative of the French Government to the EAC.
The East African Monetary Union, which would give the region a single currency, is the next pillar after the Common Market Protocol in the EAC integration progress.
“In establishing this relation with the East African Community, my country wishes to give proof of its confidence in the integration process that you have started” an EAC statement quotes Kouchner as saying.
Amb. de Labriolle said his country believed in regional integration as the future of Africa and expressed France’s willingness to help the EAC realize a monetary union.
He cited France’s experience in the crafting of a European single currency and the support France has provided for the CFA monetary union, which applies to parts of West Africa.
EAC Secretary General Juma Mwapachu described the occasion as a “raising of the bar of our relationship”, adding that “France occupies an important place in our region in terms of peace and security”
He stressed that a single currency was critical if the region was to realize the full benefits of the Common Market
Meanwhile, Amb. Labriolle was joining three other envoys nominated by their countries as representatives to the EAC. The countries include; Belgium, Canada and India.
The Indian High Commissioner Kocheril Velayudhan Bhagirath announced that India would be making available fifty fully paid scholarships, which will be channelled through the EAC Secretariat.
The scholarships will target professionals working in the fields of agro-finance, micro-finance, co-operatives and Information Technology.
The accreditation of the four envoys brings to ten the number of special country representatives to the EAC.
The USA, Denmark, Turkey, Democratic Republic of Congo, Netherlands and Japan are the other countries that have nominated ambassadors to the Community.