The EAC secretariat said in a statement on Wednesday that the accord was signed by the EU envoy to Tanzania and the EAC Manfredo Fanti, and EAC Secretary-General Libérat Mfumukeko.
The programme is a regional response to the various and growing security threats across the EAC region, the statement noted, elaborating that it will work both on enhancing technical capacities and building trust between law enforcement agencies in the EAC partner states.
Without mutual trust, data and information will not be shared, while the shared aim is to intercept those engaged in transnational organised crime, it specified.
The 45-month programme will be implemented by the EAC Secretariat and the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), complementing several other initiatives to ensure peace and security in the EAC zone.
“Cooperation in this area can work only if there is mutual trust among law enforcement agencies and this is what the programme aims at,” the EU envoy noted.
In his remarks Amb. Mfumukeko hailed the long standing partnership between the EAC and the EU in the peace and security sector, which he said was a key enabler to the integration process in East Africa.
“The current phase of EDF11 has set aside 85 million euros for a variety of interventions supportive to various integration initiatives, among them peace and security. The EAC is also a beneficiary of 528 million euros through a regional envelope that covers IGAD, COMESA, IOC and SADC,” he stated.
Since 2007, the EU has extended support to the EAC through various initiatives including the APSA support project (about euro 10 million cumulative to date) whose 4th phase is still under negotiation.
There is also the Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution Project whose implementation ended in 2012 billed at 4.8 million euros, and the Eastern and Southern Africa Indian Ocean (ESA-IO) Maritime Security Project whose implementation ended on 14th October 2019 and took up 11.6 million euros, the EAC secretariat head noted.
“The project being launched today will seek to reduce opportunities for transnational and cross border threats to the integration process through support to policy development and implementation,” he stated.
It will also focus on enhanced political accountability, structured and institutional information exchange mechanisms, consolidation and extension of ballistic examination capacity, and extension of round the clock connectivity to as many One Stop Border Posts as possible, he said.
Efficient implementation of the proposed interventions will enable law enforcement agencies at the regional level to implement information sharing mechanisms.
Such mechanisms will facilitate rapid and timely response to threats and enhance security as greater gains are made in the implementation of the EAC Customs Unions and Common Market protocols, the statement underlined.
The project will also assist the EAC in the implementation of the recently adopted Peace and Security Protocol and feed into the broader African commitment of “silencing the guns in Africa by 2020,” it added.