EAC, development partners assess integration agenda
The consultative forum will reinforce policy dialogue
MAY Tuesday 24, 2022
By Tranquility News Reporter, Tanzania
The East Africa Community (EAC) Secretariat will tomorrow host the 3rd high-level Development Partners Group Forum as contribution of the later to organs and institutions of the bloc declines.
Simply known by its DPG acronym, the platform to be held at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania, aims at enhancing dialogue between the community and development partners in a bid to enrich partnership and harmonisation at the bloc.
“The forum is also seeking to foster synergies and leverage available resources while avoiding duplication of efforts in financing EAC programmes and projects, the community Corporate Communication and Public Affairs Department says in a statement The Tranquility News has seen.
The forum is expected to, among other things, establish a common understanding on areas of interest for development partners’ support towards the EAC integration agenda.
The Secretary General, Dr Peter Mathuki, will chair the forum along with heads of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the European Union.
The forum comes barely one month and half since the EAC Council of Ministers directed the secretariat to identify challenges leading to low implementation rate of programmes and activities funded by development partners.
The secretariat should then present proposals for addressing the identified challenges to the forthcoming 42nd meeting of the council, indicating timelines of the projects.
The council had realised that disbursement of development partners funding to the EAC organs and institutions by February this year had declined to 30 per cent for the secretariat and to 44.4 per cent for the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation (LVFO).
The Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) and the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) received 22 per cent and 37 per cent, respectively, of funding from development partners during the period in review.
The Comprehensive Support to EAC Regional Integration project implemented by the secretariat, for instance, received $601,467 out of $3,865,476 budgeted, equivalent to 16 per cent.
The ECOFISH Programme being implemented by the LVFO received $143,406 out of $844,308.62 budgeted, equivalent to 17 per cent.
The Integrated Water Resource Management project being implemented by the LVBC received $261,622 out of $1,291,984.30 budgeted, equivalent to 20 per cent.
The KfW supported EAC Scholarship project being executed by the IUCEA received $333,480 out of $1,673,865 budgeted, equivalent to 20 per cent.
The council blamed declined development partners funding on low capacity of the EAC organs and institutions to absorb the funds. The capacity to absorb funds is among the development partners’ criteria for disbursing funds.
The Development Partners Consultative Forum, which dates back to 2017, was born out of the need for reinforcing policy dialogue between the region and the development partners for the benefit of the regional economic community.
The forum, which is chaired by the EAC Secretary General and co-Chaired by heads of the AfDB and of the EU Delegation to Tanzania and the EAC, was officially launched during the second forum held in October 2018.
The forum ensures development partners support key priorities articulated in the EAC development strategies and align their respective cooperation activities with those of the bloc.
High on the agenda of the 2018 2nd forum included the need for bringing on board representatives of key regional non-state actors, including the private sector, in the forum as well as in thematic groups.
Equally contentious was the need for the forum to assess the gap between the EAC partner states rhetoric integration ambitions and their actual commitmentΩ