EAC passed through hard times last year, says regional bloc chief

21Jan 2018
Edward Qorro
Guardian On Sunday
EAC passed through hard times last year, says regional bloc chief

EAST African Community (EAC) Secretary General Liberat Mfumukeko has described 2017 as a challenging year to the regional bloc.

EAST African Community (EAC) Secretary General Liberat Mfumukeko

The EAC boss singled out the first and second quarters of the 2017/2018 financial year as a turbulent moment to the bloc, adding that the Community experienced serious financial challenges during the period.

In his New Year address delivered on Thursday to EAC secretariat staff, Mfumukeko called for serious prioritising of the available resources to ensure critical activities in the integration process were implemented by the Secretariat this year.

"The past year was quite challenging in terms of finance...I therefore urge you to prioritise the resources available as we overcome the challenges," noted the EAC boss.

Despite the challenges that the bloc faced, the EAC chief was however categorical that some achievements were registered by the Community.

Detailing about the Common Market Protocol, Mfumukeko revealed that a total of 104 standards were approved by the Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment (SCTIFI) in June 2017 as East African Standards and 108 international standards were endorsed for adoption by the partner states in accordance with the EAC procedures.

"This brings to date the cumulative total number of harmonized standards to 1,428 for the period 2000 - to June 2017. In addition to this, negotiations of Mutual Recognition Agreements for Land Surveyors were concluded," he explained.

He further disclosed that during the past year, the Secretariat, in close collaboration with partner states, continued the fight against non-tariff barriers (NTBs) through the assenting to the EAC Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers Act 2017.

The diplomat urged partner states to finalise the regulations for successful implementation of the EAC Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers Act 2017 and intensify monitoring of trade flows along EAC common borders.

Commenting on the agricultural sector, Mfumukeko said the EAC Regional Agriculture Investment Plan was validated.

" The plan seeks to catalyze the realization of the EAC Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) goals in five investment thematic areas, namely: increasing regional agricultural production and food supply; enhancing food utilization; promoting agribusiness, value addition and agro-industry; promoting sustainable natural resource use and management, and strengthening capacities of EAC regional agricultural institutions," he noted.

Meanwhile, Mfumukeko touched on the winding up of the fourth EAC Development Strategy 2011-2016, adding that the preparation of the fifth EAC Development Strategy was at an advanced stage.

“The proposed fifth development strategy, if implemented fully, will be a game changer in the region. It will contribute to the eradication of poverty, improved health care and enhancement of the education standards,” he said.

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