The Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC) Dr Peter Mathuki on Friday met the incoming CEO of TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) David Beer at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
Accompanying Beer during the courtesy call on the Secretary-General was the ongoing TMEA CEO Frank Matsaert.
In his remarks, Dr Mathuki observed that TMEA had done a commendable job in supporting the integration process in East Africa, particularly in infrastructure development, improving customs efficiency and capacity building in diverse sectors.
Dr Mathuki said that TMEA had mobilised significant resources over the years to support various EAC programmes and projects.
He singled out TMEA’s support in the construction of One-Stop Border Posts (OSBPs) noting that OSBPs had eased cross-border trade and free movement of persons by reducing the amount of time spent by merchants and travellers at the borders.
The Secretary-General informed Beer of potential areas that may require support in future including fast-tracking the integration of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the newest Partner State, into the Community.
Dr Mathuki further informed the TMEA CEO of the urgent need to build the capacity of DRC officials to ensure that they participate fully and effectively in EAC programmes and activities.
Also high on the EAC agenda is support in terms of translation and interpretation services for EAC meetings and documentation given that French and Kiswahili are also now official languages of the Community in addition to English.
On his part, Beer said that his focus would be to build on and deepen the achievements recorded by EAC during the time his predecessor has been in office.
Beer further said it was crucial to cascade the gains and successes recorded by the Community to South Sudan and DRC who are the latest entrants into the EAC.
Also key according to the incoming CEO is leveraging on the existing political goodwill behind the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to open up the trade opportunities therein for the benefit of the seven (7) EAC Partner States.
Also present at the meeting were the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Planning, Infrastructure, Finance and Administration Eng. Steven Mlote, the Director of Trade Alhaj Rashid Kibowa, the Monetary Union Expert, Dr Pantaleo Kessy and the Acting Director of Customs Flavia Busingye.
Monica Hangi, TMEA Country Director- Tanzania; Theresia Komba, EAC-TMEA Programme Manager; Waturi Matu, Senior Private Sector Technical Advisor to the EAC Secretary General, and other officials from the EAC Secretariat.