Norwagian minister hails EAC integration process

11Mar 2016
Our Reporter
The Guardian
Norwagian minister hails EAC integration process

THE Norwegian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tone Skogen, yesterday commended the progress of the integration process of the East African Community (EAC).

Tone Skogen

Skogen is on a four-day official visit to Tanzania and visited the EAC headquarters in a bid to show support towards the regional integration agenda and gain insight on the status of the integration process.

Welcoming the Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister and her delegation to the EAC Headquarters on behalf of the Secretary General, Ambassador Dr Richard Sezibera, the Head of the Corporate Communication and Public Affairs Department, Owora Richard Othieno, commended the Norwegian government’s support to the regional integration process.

Othieno briefed the Norwegian envoy on the current status of the EAC integration process and the milestones achieved so far.

Among the key highlights of the latest achievements included the establishment of the Single Customs Territory, implementation of the Common Market Protocol and progress made towards a single currency by 2024.

He made reference to the 17th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State which was held last week in Arusha, culminating in the admission of the Republic South Sudan as the sixth EAC Partner State.

“In addition, the Heads of State officially launched the new generation International East African e-passport; a regional travel document that will fast-track clearance of East Africans within and outside EAC borders,” said Othieno.

He informed the Minister that the positive developments taking place within the region were indicative of the right path the EAC was pursuing, adding that in the period ahead, emphasis will be on full implementation of the Single Customs Territory, the Common Market Protocol, Monetary Union Protocol, regional infrastructure development, and movement towards the Political Federation.

He said the integration process may be delayed or slowed down but it can’t be halted or reversed.

On her part, Minister Skogen was keen to learn more about the regional infrastructure projects and the level of engagement of Public-Private Partnerships in the EAC integration process.

The Minister commended the efforts of the political leadership in mobilizing consistent forums with representatives from the Private Sector in order to address stumbling blocks that affect business and trade within the region.