US grants $194m to EAC projects

East African Business Week - - EAC - BY SAM OKWAKOL

ARUSHA, TAN­ZA­NIA—THE United States gov­ern­ment and the East African Com­mu­nity (EAC) last week signed $194 mil­lion Re­gional Devel­op­ment Ob­jec­tives Grant agree­ment at the EAC head­quar­ters in Arusha.

“By sim­pli­fy­ing cus­toms and border pro­ce­dures, we have fa­cil­i­tated faster, more af­ford­able and pre­dictable trade. We have in­creased in­vest­ment by fa­cil­i­tat­ing the clo­sure of more in­ter­na­tional deals, which are ex­pand­ing lo­cal in­dus­tries and man­u­fac­tur­ing,” Karen Free­man, the USAID Mis­sion Di­rec­tor for Kenya and East Africa said.

The money is be­ing chan­neled through USAID over a five-year pe­riod to­wards shared devel­op­ment goals and deep­en­ing the part­ner­ship be­tween the two Amer­i­cans and East Africans.

“The part­ner­ship con­tin­ues to ex­pand and be strength­ened through mu­tual devel­op­ment ob­jec­tives and fund­ing for pro­grammes such as trade and in­vest­ment, bio­di­ver­sity, cli­mate change, agri­cul­ture, food se­cu­rity, water sup­ply and san­i­ta­tion, and in­sti­tu­tional sup­port,” Am­bas­sador Lib­er­aìt Mfu­mukeko, the EAC Sc­re­tary Gen­eral said.

Ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease, about $30 mil­lion will fund in­sti­tu­tional strength­en­ing within the EAC Sec­re­tariat, while the re­main­der will sup­port other devel­op­ment part­ners in their ef­forts to con­trib­ute to the EAC re­gional in­te­gra­tion agenda.

Chargé d’af­faires of the US Em­bassy to Tan­za­nia and US Rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the EAC, Vir­ginia Blaser

The money is be­ing chan­neled through USAID over a five-year pe­riod to­wards shared devel­op­ment goals and deep­en­ing the part­ner­ship be­tween the two Amer­i­cans and East Africans

was in at­ten­dance.

She high­lighted the tremen­dous value of fos­ter­ing re­gional co­op­er­a­tion, say­ing that the US sup­ports “gov­ern­ments and re­gional bod­ies such as the EAC in their col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­forts to un­lock this re­gion’s full po­ten­tial for the ben­e­fit of its peo­ple,” she said.

Un­der this agree­ment, the EAC and the United States will work to­gether to (i) ad­vance re­gional eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion, (ii) in­crease trade and in­vest­ment be­tween mem­ber states and with the United States, (iii) im­prove the sus­tain­able man­age­ment of nat­u­ral re­sources in the Lake Victoria Basin and Mara River ecosys­tems, (iv) im­prove ac­cess to in­te­grated health ser­vices in border ar­eas and (iv) strengthen the EAC’S or­ga­ni­za­tional lead­er­ship.

Am­bas­sador Mfu­mukeko said the new EAC-USAID Re­gional Devel­op­ment Ob­jec­tive Grant Agree­ment (RDOAG) 2016-2021 would deepen in­te­gra­tion, im­prove cross-border risk man­age­ment and strengthen re­gional in­sti­tu­tions lead­er­ship and learn­ing. He added that the RDOAG would sup­port har­mo­niza­tion of poli­cies and stan­dards, and scale up tech­nolo­gies and best prac­tices in trade, in­vest­ment, agri­cul­ture, en­ergy, and en­vi­ron­men­tal and nat­u­ral re­source man­age­ment. Other ar­eas to be sup­ported by the agree­ment are cli­mate change, gen­der, liveli­hood, pop­u­la­tion and health threats.

Also present at the cer­e­mony were the Ms. Can­dace Buz­zard, Deputy Di­rec­tor at the USAID Mis­sion and Charles Njoroge, the EAC Deputy Sec­re­tary Gen­eral in charge of Po­lit­i­cal Fed­er­a­tion.

USAID is the fo­cal and prac­ti­cal arm of the US for­eign devel­op­ment agenda. It works to end ex­treme global poverty and en­able re­silient, demo­cratic so­ci­eties to re­al­ize their po­ten­tial.

DONE: Amb. Mfumekeko ex­changes signed copies of the five-year EAC-USAID Re­gional Devel­op­ment Ob­jec­tive Grant Agree­ment with Karen Free­man (while the Chargé d’af­faires of the US Em­bassy in Tan­za­nia, Vir­ginia Blaser looks on.

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