East African Community and European Development Fund commit to implement region’s development projects in five years.
Despite stalled trade talks that saw some East African member states hesitant in signing the Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU, the East African Community and the European Development Fund (EDF) have agreed to cement their business ties by committing to implement various development projects in the region for a period of five years.
According to the statement released by the EAC, the decision was reached during the EDF meeting in Brussels, Belgium, which was also attended by the EAC Secretary General, Liberat Mfumukeko.
Mr Mfumukeko urged the EU to consider priorities such as enhancing food security and income generation for employment to improve livelihoods in the region.
The EDF meeting in Brussels brought together the Secretaries General of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), East African Community (EAC), Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Indian Ocean Commission(IOC), and EU representatives from Brussels.
The purpose of the high level meeting was to discuss the implementation of the EDF 11 under which EAC was allocated 85 million Euros for a period of 5 years. The resources were distributed to various areas such as peace and security15 million Euros, regional integration 45 million Euros, natural resources management 20 million Euros, and institutional strengthening 5million Euros.
EAC reported that out of the allocated 85 million Euros, projects worth 70 million Euros have reached advanced stages. A project on regional electoral support worth 5 million Euros is under implementation, a project on establishing a Trade Related Facility for 35 million has been finalised which will allow Partner States access to funds for trade facilitation. Moreover, a project on water resources management worth 10 million Euros led by Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) and KfW is at formulation stage.
The project focuses on Lake Victoria Basin with plans for construction of water and sanitation infrastructure along major towns in the basin. EAC is also preparing to submit a project on promotion of aquaculture led by Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation (LVFO) worth 20 million Euros as well as projects in a peace and security and institutional strengthening.
During the meeting, the EU underlined the need to find sustainable financing solutions for donor-funded staff positions. The EU also announced a creation of a technical facility of 14 million Euros to support capacity building of project preparation on soft infrastructure projects.
Under EDF 11, the EU has allocated 600 million Euros for the five Regional Economic Communities (RECs). All the RECs have up to the end of December 2016 to finalise on the identification of priority projects.