The East African Community (EAC) and Germany have signed Agreements on technical and financial cooperation worth up to USD 35 million in the areas of integrated water resource management, economic integration and pandemic preparedness.
The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Tanzania, Regine Hess and the Secretary-General of the East African Community (EAC) Peter Mathuki signed technical and financial cooperation worth up to USD 35 million between the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the East African Community (EAC).
These agreements pave the way for the implementation of three new joint development projects.
The first technical cooperation project worth USD 3.8 million will be launched in January 2022 and aims at strengthening the capacities of the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) to fulfil its mandate in the areas of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM).
This includes; to improve horizontal cooperation between LVBC, the water administrations and the River Basin Organisations of the EAC Partner States, as well as strengthening the capacities of the EAC Department of Productive Services in IWRM.
The second financial cooperation project valued at USD 17.3 million will focus on promoting further economic development of the region around Lake Victoria.
The Lake Victoria Basin is a designated regional economic growth zone that already generates approximately 40 per cent of the total GDP of all EAC Partner States and is a crucial resource for the economic, ecologic and social development of about 40 million people living in its catchment area.
Speaking during the signing ceremony at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki noted that this support will enhance the management of the basin as well as contribute to increased water quality and water safety in the Lake Victoria Basin and the EAC.
“This financing will play a huge part in contributing to environment development as we move towards exploiting the potential of this resource for the benefit of the community,” he said.
The third financial cooperation project, estimated at USD 13.9 million, will expand the ongoing EAC-German cooperation in pandemic prevention and strengthening of disease surveillance and control.
The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Tanzania, Regine Hess noted that by establishing a regional network of supranational and specialised reference laboratories, the EAC pandemic preparedness capacities will be scaled higher and the EAC resilience towards future health challenges will be strengthened.
“This gives the population access to a wide range of diagnostic services. Future outbreaks of disease can be identified at an early stage and epidemics and pandemics can be better prevented and controlled,” said Amb. Hess.
Further, Mathuki appreciated the Federal Republic of Germany for the continued partnership that has contributed largely in deepening regional integration efforts.
“Germany has been a strategic partner and walked the integration journey with the EAC for over 20 years; providing extensive technical and financial support to critical projects and programmes that have advanced the regional integration agenda,” he said.
The Secretary-General lauded Germany’s support in the procurement of the EAC Mobile Laboratories, which have been deployed in the Partner States and are playing a critical role in the fight against COVID-19. The Mobile Laboratories in the Partner States have significantly reduced the turn-around time for testing in the areas of their deployment from initially 72 hours to 10 hours on average.
Currently, more than 560,000 COVID-19 samples have been analysed, and 103 laboratory staff trained in the mobile laboratory while data collection for COVID-19 rapid diagnostics tests validation and sequencing studies have already started in the Partner States.
Amb. Hess dubbed EAC as a trustworthy Partner of Germany and reiterated her country’s commitment in supporting EAC to build the capacity of its institutions to ensure citizens feel the impact of regional integration.
“Lake Victoria is a water body shared among three EAC Partner States. Improving water safety and quality will go a long way in improving the livelihoods of those who depend on it, create job opportunities which are ultimately set to improve their quality of life,” she said.