The East African Community (EAC) has partnered with the European Union (EU) to roll out a 16.4-million-euro program aimed at strengthening regional economic integration (CORE) through advancing implementation of the Customs Union and Common Market Protocols.
The program, which was unveiled Wednesday by the EU Ambassador to Tanzania and the EAC Manfredo Fanti and the EAC Secretary General Libérat Mfumukeko will be instrumental in moving towards a fully-fledged Customs Union by supporting more robust information, communication and technology (ICT) based data exchange protocols for the clearing of goods.
“Thanks to digital solutions, customs operations will be simpler, quicker, as well as safer during this pandemic situation thereby resulting in a reduction of the costs of cross-border trade,” the EAC said in a statement.
“A new impetus will be given through this programme to promote free movement of services, a crucial building block for the creation of the EAC Common Market.”
The programme will also support implementation of services’ liberalisation commitments, facilitating mutual recognition of professions and allowing companies to provide their services beyond their national borders.
“During the first two years,” official said, the focus of this programme will be on the insurance, accounting and distribution sectors.”
The program is also hoped to enhance the capacity of the EAC Secretariat in order to ensure that this institution can deliver its overall mandate.
“The economic integration of the East African Community is at the heart of our cooperation agenda. This programme will be a catalyst for making the economic integration a reality,” said Ambassador Fanti.
Ambassador Mfumukeko hailed the European Union for its continued support to the EAC.
“It is my sincere hope that the EAC cooperation with EU will grow stronger based on the already existing robust foundation of our common goals. The EU has for many years provided significant support to various EAC programmes in sectors as diverse as peace and security, promotion of democracy and good governance, and fisheries,’’ he said.
The EU has supported the EAC in all the four pillars of integration, namely: Customs Union, Common Market, Monetary Union and Political Federation.
“It is my sincere hope that the EAC cooperation with EU will grow stronger based on the already existing robust foundation of our common goals. The EU has for many years provided significant support to various EAC programmes in sectors as diverse as peace and security, promotion of democracy and good governance, and fisheries,’’ said Ambassador Mfumukeko.
This 60-month programme will be implemented by the EAC Secretariat. It will complement several other initiatives to providing economic empowerment to the people of the East African Community.