Thursday, April 14, 2016
US impressed by speed of EAC integration process
THE United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has commended efforts made by the East African Community (EAC) in implementing policy priorities and its pace towards regional integration—the ultimate goal of the trading bloc. USAID/Kenya and East Africa/Regional Economic Integration Office Director, Matthew Rees made expressed the sentiments on Monday in Arusha when speaking at a two-day Regional Trade and Feed the Future Coordination Conference attended by USAID mission staff, representatives from other US Government Agencies (USDA), implementing partners as well as officials from the EAC Partner States. The forum was aimed at enhancing collaboration and information sharing among USAID missions and Partners to improve integration, innovation and scaling up of results. It also focused on the implementation of policy priorities and sharing lessons learned from across the region and other trading blocs. EAC Secretary General, Dr. Richard Sezibera highlighted the community’s mutual and strategic partnership with the US government that dates back to the EAC’s inception. "The partnership continues to grow from strength to strength through common development objectives and funding for various programmes including trade and investment, agriculture, environment, health and institutional support," said Dr. Sezibera. "I wish to acknowledge and appreciate the tremendous contribution and investments that USAID has made in advancing regional integration of the EAC," he added. The EAC boss cited that in 2015, the EAC concluded a Cooperation Agreement on Trade Facilitation, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS), and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), adding that the implementation of the agreement would strengthen the capacities and enhance competitiveness of the EAC Partner States in areas of trade and agricultural development.