Tuesday, November 15, 2016 

EAC delegation attends Brussels talks

ATTENTIVE: Amb. Liberat. M (2nd right) and Eriyo were in Brussels last week to attend a High Level Committee of the European Development Fund which is a major supporter of EAC Secretariat activities.

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - Liberat Mfumukeko, the East African Community (EAC) Secretary General Ambassador was in Brussels last week to attend a High Level Committee of the European Development Fund (EDF). 

Created in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome and launched in 1959, the European Development Fund (EDF) is the European Union’s main instrument for providing development aid to African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and to overseas countries and territories.

The EDF funds cooperation activities in the fields of economic development, social and human development as well as regional cooperation and integration.

The EDF meeting in Brussels brought together the Secretary’s General of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), EAC , Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Indian Ocean Commission(IOC), and EU representatives from Brussels. 

Amb. Mfumukeko asked the EU to consider priorities such as enhancing food security, income generation for employment to improve livelihoods.

The Secretary General was accompanied at the meeting by Jessica Eriyo , the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Finance and Administration who also led the EAC delegation during Technical meetings. 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 as follows: Peace and Security (15million Euros), regional integration (45 million Euros), natural resources management (20 million  Euros), and institutional strengthening (5 million Euros).

The 11th EDF was created by an intergovernmental agreement signed in June 2013 – as it is not part of the EU Budget – and entered into force on the 1st March 2015, after ratification by all member states. 

In order to ensure continuity of funding for cooperation with ACPs and OCTs, a ‘Bridging Facility’ was set-up to cover the period between the end of the 10th EDF (December 2013) and the start of the 11th EDF (March 2015). However, this ‘Bridging Facility’ ceased to exist when the 11th EDF entered into force.

EAC reported that out of the allocated 85 million euros (about $92 million), 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 euro has been finalized which will allow Partner States access to funds for trade facilitation.

A project on water resources management worth 10 million euro led by Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) and KfW is at formulation stage. This project focuses on LVBC 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 aquaculture led by Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization(LVFO) worth 20 million euro as well as project on peace and security and institutional strengthening. During the meeting EAC was applauded for having passed the key EU pillars assessment. EAC will now discuss implementation modalities with EU which will mean the Community using its own procedures.  The meeting was also informed of the entry of the Republic of South Sudan into the EAC. 

During the meeting, the EU underlined the need to find sustainable financing solutions for donor-funded staff positions. 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, EU has allocated 600 million euro for the five Regional Economic Communities (RECs). 

All the RECs have up to the end of December 2016 to finalize on the identification of priority projects.

By Sam Okwakol, Tuesday, November 15th, 2016