22 October 2012

East Africa: Rallying Support for EAC Partnership Fund

Photo: Monicah Mwangi/The Star
Kenyan shilling: The East Africa member states have plans to move towards a single currency.

The Deputy Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC) in charge of Finance and Administration, Jean Claude Nsengiyumva, last week, held a series of meetings in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to drum up support for the EAC Partnership Fund.

According to a statement from the EAC Secretariat, Nsengiyumva met with envoys from Italy, Belgium, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and Ireland as well as the Deputy Ambassador of Finland.

During the talks, the official reportedly emphasised the need for more support to the Fund, which is the only instrument for general budget support to the regional bloc.

The statement says that Nsengimana lobbied Italy, Turkey, Switzerland and Ireland to contribute to the Fund.

"The Republic of Finland committed additional support of two million Euros and Belgium indicated a possible addition of 900,000 Euros to the Partnership Fund. Norway reaffirmed its continued support to the Fund and DFID reiterated its assurance of support by pledging an additional 1.5 million pounds for the FY 2012/13," reads part of the statement.

The Deputy Secretary General also met with the EU delegation in Tanzania and explored the continued support to Regional Integration Support Programme (RISP).

The current programme expires in December 2013.

"A continuation programme has already been worked on for 5.6 million Euros to start in January 2014. The development partners expressed confidence on how the Funds were being utilised and applauded the Partnership Fund priorities such as Common Market implementation and awareness programs. They emphasized the need to demonstrate results."

Created on September 15, 2006, the EAC Partnership Fund is a basket fund mechanism with annual contributions from development partners aimed at supporting the five-member bloc's integration projects and programmes.

It is open to partners who finance it through Contribution Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) signed between them and the bloc.

The objectives of the Fund include: promoting implementation of the Treaty with a view to enhance regional integration and socio-economic development of the EAC through funding of activities for EAC's development; facilitating planning and accounting of development partners' funds by disbursing into a common basket fund; and encouraging development partners and EAC to jointly contribute to the Fund to ensure availability of funds for activities.

Its members include Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and United Kingdom. Other non contributing members are European Commission and the World Bank.

Priority intervention areas for the financial year 2011/12 are: support to implementation of Common Market Protocol, Customs and Trade; support to negotiations for Monetary Union; support to EAC Institutions (CASSOA, IUCEA and LVFO); support to key EAC sectors (Social, Productive, and Infrastructure); capacity strengthening of the bloc; support to EAC Communication, Publicity and outreach programmes; and the bloc's resource mobilisation office.

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