By Benjamin Jumbe
The East Africa Community Heads of State have directed partner states to prioritise the regional value and supply chains to support local production of essential medical products and supplies.
The directive is contained in a joint communique issued after a consultative meeting held through video conferencing chaired by Rwanda’s Paul Kagame.
The leaders argue that producing items like masks, sanitizers, soap, processed food, and ventilators will enhance efforts to combat COVID-19 in the region.
The Heads of State further directed partner states to facilitate farmers to continue farming activities during and after the COVID-19 pandemic and establish special purpose financing schemes for SMEs to cushion them from the negative effects of the pandemic.
The meeting was attended by all the regional leaders apart from Tanzania’s John Magufuli and Burundi’s Pierre Nkrunziza.