4 March 2014

East Africa: EAC, EU Sign 4.5m Euro Agreement to Support Regional Integration Agenda

press release

Arusha — The East African Community Secretariat and European Union Delegation to the United Republic of Tanzania and to the EAC today signed a Financing Agreement totaling 4.45 Million Euros to support Regional Integration Support Programme (RISP 3) at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

The programme aims at increasing the capacities of the Partner States to implement the EAC Treaty provisions and Protocols in the areas of Custom Union, Common Market and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the EAC Organs. The objective of this programme is to support the EAC region, the Secretariat and its 5 Partner States in their efforts to deepen integration agenda and increase competitiveness.

The 3rd generation Regional Integration Support Programme (RISP 3) aims at enhancing regional integration processes in the whole of Eastern and Southern Africa, as well as the Indian Ocean. It also builds on the lessons learnt during the implementation of previous similar projects. RISP 3 specifically addresses the challenges of the East African Community and provides concerted, tailor-made support to the EAC Organs and the 5 Partner States.

The Programme is part of a 20M euros package designed for COMESA, EAC, IGAD and IOC. As far as the EAC is concerned, the priorities focus on implementing the Customs Union, Common Market, Monetary Union and Sensitization programmes. Speaking during the signing ceremony, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Finance and Administration Mr. Jean Claude Nsengiyumva expressed the Community's appreciation for the continuous support from the European Union to the EAC.

He said the continued support from the European Union and other Development Partners had been a key factor in assisting the EAC to move closer to attaining its goal of regional integration and that commitment and effective management had led to more confidence from all the stakeholders.

On his part, the EU Head of Cooperation and Minister Counsellor, Mr. Eric Beaume, affirmed that "in the increasingly globalised world, regional blocks have the potential to foster the wellbeing of their citizens. "The EU and the EAC want to jointly promote social and economic development. They go hand in hand to extend it to all countries of the region and to make it sustainable. With this support, we hope to achieve the objective to deepen integration and increase competitiveness of the EAC, thereby contributing to reducing poverty and enhancing economic growth" added Eric Beaume

RISP3 will concentrate on one hand on accelerating the implementation of regional commitments at national level. On the other hand, it will reinforce the EAC Secretariat and other statutory organs, such as the East African Legislative Assembly and East African Court of Justice, in their role to steer regional integration.

Coordination efforts between the three regional organisations - the EAC, SADC and COMESA - will also be supported, with the ultimate goal of the reaching a Tripartite Free Trade Area.

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