The U.S. Government and the East African Community (EAC) on Thursday launched a Regional Development Objectives Grant Agreement that further deepens the partnership between the two organizations.
In the arrangement, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will contribute approximately US$194 million over a five year period on behalf of the US government to shared development goals.
About $30 million will fund institutional strengthening within the EAC Secretariat, while the remainder will support other development partners in their efforts to contribute to the EAC regional integration agenda.
Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy to Tanzania and U.S. Representative to the EAC Virginia Blaser, USAID Mission Director for Kenya and East Africa Karen Freeman, and EAC Secretary General Ambassador Liberaìt Mfumukeko signed a memorandum of acknowledgment to affirm the agreement.
Chargé Blaser noted the tremendous value of fostering regional cooperation, saying that the United States supports “governments and regional bodies such as the EAC in their collaborative efforts to unlock this region’s full potential for the benefit of its people.”
USAID Mission Director Freeman emphasized the joint achievements of the EAC and USAID over the past two decades. “By simplifying customs and border procedures, we have facilitated faster, more affordable and predictable trade. We have increased investment by facilitating the closure of more international deals, which are expanding local industries and manufacturing.”
Under this agreement, the EAC and the United States will work together to advance regional economic integration as well as increase trade and investment between member states and with the United States.
The two parties will also improve the sustainable management of natural resources in the Lake Victoria Basin and Mara River ecosystems, improve access to integrated health services in border areas as well as strengthen the EAC’s organizational leadership.
In his remarks, EAC Secretary General Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko thanked USAID for its continued support to the EAC integration agenda. Amb. Mfumukeko said that EAC’s partnership with the United States dates back to the Community’s inception.
“The partnership continues to expand and be strengthened through mutual development objectives and funding for programmes such as trade and investment, biodiversity, climate change, agriculture, food security, water supply and sanitation, and institutional support,” said Amb. Mfumukeko.
The Secretary General said that the new EAC-USAID Regional Development Objective Grant Agreement (RDOAG) 2016-2021 would deepen integration, improve cross-border risk management and strengthen regional institutions leadership and learning. He added that the RDOAG would support harmonization of policies and standards, and scale up technologies and best practices in trade, investment, agriculture, energy, and environmental and natural resource management.
Other to be supported by the Agreement are climate change, gender, livelihood, population and health threats. Also present at the ceremony were the Ms. Candace Buzzard, Deputy Director at the USAID Mission and Mr. Charles Njoroge, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Political Federation.