China eyes solid ties with EAC, provides the bloc with vehicles

The country asks the regional economic community to support Global Development Initiatives to improve wellbeing of East Africans

TUESDAY June 27, 2023

The Chinese envoy to Tanzania and the East African Community (EAC), Ms Chen Mingjian (Second Right) and the EAC Director of Customs and Trade, Dr Irene Isaka (Second Left), jointly cut a ribbon to launch operations of eight vehicles the China government donated to the bloc at the regional headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania, on Tuesday June 27. PHOTOS | EAC

 By Patty Magubira

The Tranquility News Reporter, Tanzania

The Chinese government has handed over $400,000 worth of vehicles to the East African Community (EAC) as Tanzania marks 10th anniversary this year since the leader of one of the world’s giant economies, Xi Jinping, visited the partner state hosting headquarters of the community.

President Xi made his maiden visit to Africa on March 24, 2013, with Tanzania being his entry point, explaining then that the state tour aimed at cementing traditional ties, designing forthcoming relations and fostering growth.

Available data shows 845 investments valued at $7.8 billion have been registered since, with trade volume standing at $6.74 billion.

On Tuesday June 27, 2023, the Chinese envoy to Tanzania, Ms Chen Mingjian, handed over three buses and five double cabin pickups to the EAC Director of Customs and Trade, Dr Irene Isaka, who was representing the Secretary General, Dr Peter Mathuki, at a ceremony held at the seat based in Arusha, Tanzania.

Ms Mingjian believed the vehicles accompanied with assorted spare parts would build the capacity to organise various fora of the bloc’s organs and institutions.

The Chinese envoy to Tanzania and the East African Community (EAC), Ms Chen Mingjian (Left), and the EAC Director of Customs and Trade, Dr Irene Isaka, exchange handing over documents for eight vehicles China donated to the bloc.

She said the vehicles were just a tip of the iceberg, as the largest developing country globally was resolute in his bid to heighten ties with the regional economic community and the continent at large in areas of capacity building, trade and infrastructure development, among others.

“China will remain a staunch and strong EAC supporter in development matters for the mutual benefit of both parties,” she stressed.

Ms Mingjian quoted the UN Commission for African Union as saying the bloc had the highest rate of integration in Africa and that it was effectively promoting peace, economic recovery from COVID-19 and improving infrastructure.

She explained that the process of transporting and handing over of the vehicles to the EAC dated back to 2021, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic for disrupting the plan.

“Until last year when the vehicles arrived, each party was busy contending with the pandemic,” said the envoy, adding that a Chinese firm assigned to implement the project had also deployed four technicians early this year to inspect and maintain the vehicles and to guide and train the EAC drivers and technicians.

The Chinese envoy to Tanzania and the East African Community, Ms Chen Mingjian (Seated Centre), poses for a picture with EAC leaders and staff in Arusha, Tanzania, shortly after Ms Mingjian handed over eight vehicles to the block on Thursday June 27, 2023.

She assured the EAC Secretariat saying the vehicles were of high quality and that they were procured from renowned Chinese manufacturers, including Jingaling Motors and Zhongtong.

Dr Isaka appreciated the donation saying the bloc was looking forward to an enhanced partnership. “Ties between EAC and China continue developing in depth and pragmatic cooperation in various fields has achieved remarkable results,” she observed.

She said China had last year extended funds to the the EAC in support of its development programmes and the Youth Leadership Summit.

The Asian country immensely contributed to infrastructure projects geared towards promoting intra-EAC trade, she added, assuring the envoy that the vehicles would be efficiently used for improving logistics service in the regional integration agenda.

The European Union has since the rebirth of the bloc in November 1999 been the main supporter of the EAC integration agenda, with Germany putting up a building housing its headquarters.

East African Community heads of state pose for a souvenir picture shortly after a building housing headquarters of the bloc was inaugurated in August 2012. PHOTOS | FILE

The German international development cooperation agency (GIZ) is also assisting to put in place institutional and regulatory frameworks for regional and continental trade.

Global Development Initiative

Ms Mingjian said China welcomed active support from the EAC to Global Development Initiatives (GDI) to improve the wellbeing of the East Africans and contribute to strengthening the course of global development.

Addressing the general debate of the 76thsession of the UN General Assembly on September 21, 2021, President Xi put forward the GDI in his speech titled Bolstering Confidence and Jointly Overcoming Difficulties to Build a Better World.

The GDI aims at supporting timely achievement of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by revitalising global development partnership, and promoting stronger, greener and healthier global growth.

In June 2022, President Xi chaired the High-level Dialogue on Global Development under the theme Foster a Global Development Partnership for the New Era to Jointly Implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The former Germany envoy to Tanzania, Dr Detlef Wächter (Centre), the former East African Community (EAC) Secretary General, Mr Libérat Mfumukeko (Right), and the Head of the Division East Africa at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in Germany, Mr Niels Breyer, watch banners displayed at an exhibition during the 20th anniversary of the cooperation between Germany and the EAC at the headquarters of the bloc in Arusha, Tanzania. PHOTO | FILE

Over 100 countries and international organisations supported the initiative and 68 countries joined the Group of Friends of the GDI at the UN by October 2022.

Core principles the GDI upholds include staying committed to development as a priority, staying committed to a people-centered approach, staying committed to benefits for all to leave no country and no one behind, staying committed to innovation-driven development, staying committed to harmony between human and nature, and staying committed to results-oriented actions.

The GDI promotes international cooperation in eight priority areas, namely poverty alleviation, food security, pandemic response and vaccines, financing for development, climate change and green development, industrialisation, digital economy and connectivity in the digital-eraΩ

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