31 October 2017

East Africa: EAC Places Donor Funds Under Tight Control

EAST African Community (EAC) moves towards surmounting financial control to improve management of donor-funded projects amid shrinking contribution of development partners (DPs).

EAC Secretary General Ambassador Liberat Mfumukeko (pictured) told the first EAC Development Partners Consultative Forum here yesterday that the secretariat has already recruited the manager for the Partnership Fund, with the view of enhancing fund management and efficiency.

"The Partnership Fund is key in coordination of EAC development partner support. It has continuously played critical role in supporting activities to accelerate EAC agenda since its inception a decade ago," Ambassador Mfumukeko said, hinting that the fund manager has already reported for work.

The EAC mission is to widen and deepen economic,political, social and cultural integration to improve the quality of life of all citizens in the region through increased competitiveness, value addition to agricultural produce, trade and investments.

The community secretariat is responsible for fund mobilisation from DPs and other sources for project execution.

Ambassador Mfumukeko said that the EAC has significantly strengthened its financial systems and procedures. The PF was established in 2006 to coordinate and channel contributions by DPs to projects and programmes towards regional integration and socio-economic development as well as facilitate harmonisation and alignment of their support to the EAC.

Head of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department at the EAC Secretariat Owora Othieno said the new unit will deal with administration of the fund, communication with fund members, monitoring and evaluation of the achievements, budgeting, financial control, auditing and supervision of work-plan execution.

It also relates to the new Project Management Unit, Partnership Fund Steering Committee, Resource Mobilisation Office (RMO) and the Partnership Fund Management Committee.

He unveiled that the unit has duties to manage staff in accordance with management principles and guidelines to promote a sense of corporate identity, enable employees to execute tasks independently, create scope for creativity and innovation and assess staff annually.

Ambassador Mfumukeko said the EAC convened the forum to share with development partners the fifth EAC Development Strategy and priorities for the financial year 2018/2019. He said the unit creation is one of its achievements despite some shortcomings in other areas, especially in DPs contributions.

He disclosed that EAC had attained most of its objectives under the fourth Development Strategy whose execution however suffered from inadequate financial resources.

"Development Partners' contribution to EAC budget for the last five years remained almost constant in 2012/13 and 2013/14 fiscal years, increased in 2014/15 and started decreasing in 2015/16 and significantly dropped in 2016/17," said the secretary general.

The fifth strategy has seven key priority areas, including consolidation of the Single Customs Territory to cover all imports and intra-EAC traded goods, particularly agricultural and other widely consumed products; infrastructure development; enhanced free movement of all factors of production and promotion of regional industrial development.

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