The East African Community (EAC) has announced that Finland has committed two million Euros to the bloc’s Partnership Fund.
The revelation was initially made as the country appointed its Ambassador to Tanzania, Juhani Toivonen, as Permanent Representative to the EAC. Toivonen presented his credentials to EAC Secretary General Ambassador Juma Mwapachu, at the EAC Secretariat headquarters in Arusha.
The envoy and Mwapachu signed an agreement through which Finland committed two million Euros over two years in support of the EAC Partnership Fund, which Toivonen said, was a signal that Finland supports the EAC integration process and its goal of bringing accelerated economic, social and infrastructural benefits to East Africans.
The EAC Partnership Fund is a basket fund with contributions from development partners to support activities in the EAC.
Finland is reportedly among the leading funders of the regional bloc’s programmes. It was also admitted to the Lake Victoria Basin Partnership Fund in September, to which it also pledged two million Euros.
Mwapachu commended Finland for its continued support and assured the Finnish envoy that the EAC would be reviewing the structure of the Partnership Fund Steering Committee with a view to enabling it to advance political dialogue between the EAC and Development Partners.
He reiterated EAC’s commitment to restarting EPA negotiations now that the EU has pledged to provide funding support for negotiating teams from EAC Partner States. The talks had stalled partly due to lack of funds.
“I want to assure you that as EAC, we are very much committed to restarting EPA negotiations,” Mwapachu said. “We will strive to ensure that progress has been made before end of November.”