Kutoka Rwanda : US govt, EAC sign Rwf161.8bn deal to fund regional devt initiatives - Wazalendo 25 Blog


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20 Nov 2016

Kutoka Rwanda : US govt, EAC sign Rwf161.8bn deal to fund regional devt initiatives

Cargo trucks crossing into Rwanda at the Gatuna border post. Some of the money will finance programmes that will improve cross-border risk management, as well as harmonisation of EAC standards and policies. (File.)

By Times Reporter

the US and the East African Community (EAC) have signed a $194 million (about Rwf161.8 billion) five-year deal to support development initiatives in the region.The Regional Development Objectives Grant Agreement was signed at the EAC headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on behalf of the US government. It seeks to strengthen “shared development goals”, as well as deepen the partnership between the two organizations, the EAC said in a press release yesterday.
According to the statement, the deal was signed by charg√© d’affaires of the US Embassy to Tanzania and US representative to the EAC, Virginia Blaser, Karen Freeman, the USAID mission director for Kenya and East Africa, and EAC Secretary General Amb Libera√¨t Mfumukeko.
Speaking at the signing event on Wednesday, EAC Secretary General Amb Mfumukeko thanked USAID for its continued support to the EAC integration agenda, adding that the bloc’s partnership with the US dates back to the Community’s inception.
“The partnership continues to expand and being strengthened through mutual development objectives and funding for programmes, such as trade and investment, bio-diversity, climate change, agriculture, food security, water supply and sanitation, and institutional support,” Amb Mfumukeko said.
He said the new EAC-USAID Regional Development Objective Grant Agreement, which runs until 2021, would deepen integration, improve cross-border risk management and strengthen regional institutions leadership and learning.
He said it will support harmonisation of policies and standards, and scale-up technologies and best practices in trade, investment, agriculture, energy, and environmental and natural resource management.
Initiatives aimed at addressing climate change, gender, livelihood, population and health threats will also benefit.
Blaser reiterated the value of fostering regional co-operation, saying, “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 emphasised 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,” Freeman said.
Under the agreement, the EAC and the United States will work together to advance regional economic integration, increase trade and investment between member states and with the US, improve the sustainable management of natural resources in the Lake Victoria Basin and Mara River ecosystems, as well as improve access to integrated health services in border areas, and strengthen the EAC’s organisational leadership.
About $30 million (about25 billion) 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, the statement added.
Candace Buzzard, the deputy director at the USAID Mission and Charles Njoroge, the EAC deputy Secretary General in-charge of political federation, witnessed the deal signing ceremony.

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