Wednesday, February 23, 2011

EAC, Trademark East Africa sign MoU

ARUSHA, Tanzania, February 23, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)

The East African Community and TradeMark East Africa today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that seeks to provide technical and operational support to the EAC Secretariat to effectively deliver on its mandate of coordinating regional projects and programmes that will contribute to the overall regional integration and development process.

The Secretary General of the East African Community Amb. Juma Mwapachu initialed on behalf of the EAC Secretariat while Mr. Frank Matsaert, the Chief Executive Officer did on behalf of TradeMark East Africa (TMEA).

To witness the signing of the MoU were the Deputy Secretaries General in charge of Finance and Administration, Dr. Julius Tangus Rotich; in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, Mr. Jean Claude Nsengiyumva; and in charge of Political Federation, Hon. Beatrice Kiraso. The Executive Secretary of Lake Victoria Basin Commission, Dr. Tom Okurut and other EAC Senior officials were also present.

H.E. Dr. Ad Koekkoek, Ambassador of the King of the Netherlands to the United Republic of Tanzania; Ms Joy Hutcheon, the Director for East and Central Africa at the UK Department for International Development (DFID); Ms Penny Simba, Director TMEA and other officials witnessed the signing of the MoU.

Amb. Mwapachu asserted that the signing of the MoU demonstrates the strong partnership between the East African Community and TradeMark East Africa, adding that “the people of East Africa, the governments and the leadership will definitely benefit from the partnership that we are formalizing today”.

The Secretary General affirmed that TMEA’s support is geared at making tangible contributions to the regional integration and trade for the improvement of lives of millions of East Africans.

Ambassador Dr. Koekkoek affirmed his country’s commitment to the EAC and TradeMark East Africa. He noted that there was great potential in the EAC regional integration, adding that “the integration was the heart of European success”.

The Netherlands envoy noted that effective implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol calls for harmonization of policies and procedures as well as removing obstacles for doing business among the Partner States such as roadblocks and high non-transparent tariffs. “Bad infrastructure, lack of energy etc do impact negatively on doing business in the region. It is therefore important to engage the private sector as they have the knowledge of doing business,” asserted the Ambassador.

Director Joy Hutcheon emphasized the importance of the role played by the EAC Secretariat and the support being provided by TMEA. “Within DFID we are convinced that trade creates jobs and wealth, which in turn lifts people out of poverty. Measures to strengthen the EAC Common Market and streamline border post bureaucracy are important for East Africa. By breaking through the barriers to trade, the partnership between TMEA and the EAC Secretariat is helping to create new opportunities and accelerate economic growth across the region stated Ms. Hutcheon”.

According to the MoU, TMEA will provide a series of assistance to the EAC, its Organs and Institutions to support the legal, administrative, technical and institutional framework in the overall context of achieving sustainable regional integration and trade competitiveness across the region.

The MoU calls for the establishment of a Regional Oversight Committee (ROC) to carry out oversight function on TMEA’s support to the EAC. The Committee will also review the performance of TMEA activities and programmes.

Notes to Editors

Article 87 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community enjoins the Partner States to co-operate in financing projects jointly in each other’s territory especially those that facilitate integration within the EAC and to co-operate in the mobilization of foreign capital for the financing of the national, regional or joint projects.

Pursuant to Article 130 of the Treaty, EAC seeks to foster co-operative arrangements with international organizations whose activities have a bearing on EAC’s objectives as provided in the Treaty.

Various development partners have been supporting the EAC Partner States’ integration initiatives by delivering support to the EAC’s regional integration process especially those based on the objectives set out in the EAC’s Development Strategies.

TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) is a not-for-profit organization recognized as a partner institution to the EAC in supporting East African regional integration and funded by a range of development agencies to promote regional trade and economic integration in EAC region by working closely with the EAC Organs and Institutions, national governments, and business and civil society organizations.

TMEA seeks to support East African integration by opening up economic potential through:
A reduction in transport and related costs along the key corridors in the EAC region;
Supporting EAC Organs and Institutions to develop a comprehensive framework for regional integration at national level;
Supporting Partner States to substantially increase the implementation of a comprehensive framework for regional integration; and
Engaging private sector and civil society to positively influence regional integration policies and practices for growth in trade.

SOURCE: East African Community (EAC)