Arusha Times (Arusha)

East Africa: EAC Countries Start Joint Overseas Diplomatic Co-operation

opinion

The Secretary General of the East African Community Dr. Richard Sezibera has launched the "EAC Rome Chapter"  in Rome, Italy this week to foster diplomatic co-operation by Partner States diplomatic missions.

The Chapter comprises EAC Partner States diplomatic missions based in the Italian capital and was formed within the context of promoting and strengthening coordination of common foreign policies.

The launch of the EAC Rome Chapter, therefore, buttresses the Partner States' commitment to use diplomatic missions as key avenues for the mobilization of partnerships, funds and other resources necessary for the realization of EAC objectives.

Addressing members of the diplomatic corps, businessmen and friends of East Africa, Dr Sezibera said the launch of the EAC Rome Chapter comes at a time when the EAC was vibrant and resurgent marked by a GDP rise from US$ 20 billion in 1999 to US$ 80 billion currently, according to Press Release from the Secretariat.

The EAC Secretary General, himself a medical doctor, warmly welcomed a proposal by Italian doctor Luigi Gentilini to establish a mobile floating hospital on Lake Victoria. The hospital is aimed at reaching out to needy communities living around Lake Victoria.

The Chairman of the EAC Rome Chapter and outgoing Dean of the Partner States' ambassadors, Deo Rwabita, Uganda's ambassador to Italy, said regional integration would help to boost the economies of the Partner States and speed up regional development.

"The EAC initiative is aimed at attracting investors and uplifting the economic status of East Africans and we all must support it for our common good," said Rwabita.

Dr. James Msekela from Tanzania read out a joint declaration signed by all the Ambassadors committing the Rome missions to market the region and promote EAC' interests.

The occasion also saw change of leadership of the EAC Rome Chapter being assumed by Josephine Gaita, Kenya's ambassador to Italy as incoming Dean of the EAC Ambassadors.

Under the provisions of the EAC Treaty, the Partner States committed to develop and implement common foreign and security policies. As such, diplomatic missions are enjoined to coordinate their efforts with a view to effectively advancing the EAC integration agenda.

The initiative is guided by the Memorandum of Understanding on foreign policy coordination, an integral part of the Treaty, which has been upgraded into a Protocol. Also eventually envisaged are initiatives such as sharing of consulate facilities, coordination of multilateral negotiations and the provision of visa and consular services on behalf of each other, especially in countries where some of the Partner States may not have physical diplomatic presence.

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