Arusha — The East African Community (EAC) yesterday launched a new 10-milion euros (approximately Sh25.3 billion) joint programme to address regional and cross border security.
The 45-month programme, funded by the European Union (EU), is a regional response to the growing security threats in the six-nation bloc and its neighbours.
It will be implemented by the EAC Secretariat and the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) and will complement several other initiatives to provide peace and security in the region.
EAC secretary general Ambassador Liberat Mfumukeko launched the joint programme with the EU ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Manfredo Fanti, who is also accredited to the community.
Amb Mfumukeko hailed the long standing partnership between the EAC and EU in peace and security sector, which, he said, was a key player to the integration process in East Africa.
He said the grant was part of 85 million euros the EU has disbursed to the bloc for a five-year period (2016-2021) to support various development initiatives in the region.
These include the 10 million euros for the Africa Peace and Security Architecture (Apsa) and 4.8 million euros for the Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution Project.
The other is the Eastern and Southern Africa-Indian Ocean (ESA-IO) Maritime Security Project whose implementation, he said, ended on October 14, this year.
The EAC is also a beneficiary of the 528 million euros through an envelope that covers the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (Igad), the Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc).
"The project being launched today (yesterday) will seek to reduce opportunities for transnational and cross border threats in the integration process," the EAC boss observed.
For his part, the EU envoy told reporters after the launch that no country was immune to transnational crimes such as terrorism, noting that the project would hinge on capacity building and exchange of information.