EAC Chief Says Bloc Now Has Funding For All Its Projects

The East African Community (EAC) Secretary General Amb Liberat Mfumukeko has said that all its projects are now running after the bloc received funding from various sources.

The EAC was late last year reported to have been facing a funding cri­sis that stalls some of its projects as donors called for the isolation of Burundi whose president Pierre Nkurunziza had won a cpntroversial third term in office.
Addressing his first news conference in Arusha, Tanzania on Monday morning since assuming office in April this year, Amb Mfumukeko said also noted that all partner states had fully paid up their subscription except Rwanda.

He however singled out the Climate Change Mitigation project whose funder, he says, opted for the Southern African Development Community(SADC).

The EAC budget is currently funded by equal contributions by the Partner States totaling $47.5m this year and receipts from regional and international donations and the development partners expected to raise $46.7m compared to $58.5m they disbursed to EAC last year

While presenting the budget for the financial year 2016/17, in May this year, Tanzania’s deputy minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Community, Dr.Susan Kolimba said the EAC Secretariat had got $12m less compared to what it received for the previous year.

The budget cut was in line with the community’s plan for cost-cutting due to diminishing donor funding.

Proposals have been made before to the EAC to increase funding for its projects through a one percent tax on all imports from outside the community, but Amb Mfumukeko has made no mention of it.

He has promised to ensure that a big percentage of the EAC resources are directed to sectors such as Agriculture, Health, Education, and Employment creation over the next five years.

“To achieve this I will strive to establish strategic partnerships with the development partners, the private sector and also the civil society organisations and of course the members of the fourth Estate”, Amb Mfumukeko said

He added that this would be achieved through consolidation of the Single Customs Territory (SCT) to cover all imports and intra-EAC traded goods including agricultural and other widely consumed products, further liberalization of free movement of skilled labour across the Partner States

He also promises to focus on enhancement of regional industrial development through investment in key priority sectors, skills development, technological advancement and innovation to stimulate economic development.

Also of great significance is improvement of agricultural productivity, value addition and facilitation of movement of agricultural goods to enhance food security in the region; and Promotion of regional peace, security and good governance.

“Under the above priorities, activities would be identified annually that will have very clear targets and results”, he added.

Meanwhile, Amb Mfumukeko has also denied influencing the Burundi dialogue saying the facilitator does not report to his office but rather to the bloc’s heads of state.

The opposition in Burundi had earlier accused him of interfering with the dialogue that is meant to restore total peace in the country following the clashes that broke out a year ago over President’s Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a 3rd term.

Story By Catherine Ageno