Arusha — The East African Community Secretariat has today signed a cooperation programme worth 2.3 million Euros with the European Union (EU) to improve Maritime Security and create a favourable environment for the economic development in the region.
The signing of the agreement was preceded by a roundtable discussion, also held at the EAC headquarters, on the theme: “the Business Environment in East Africa” organized in commemoration of the EU Week.
The financing agreement was signed by the Deputy Secretary General in charge of Finance and Administration of the East African Community, Mr Jean Claude Nsengiyumva and Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi, Ambassador of the European Union to United Republic of Tanzania and the East African Community.
The Maritime Security Programme (MASE) is part of a 37.5 Million euros package to four regional organisations of Eastern and Southern Africa (EAC, COMESA, IGAD and IOC). The financial support will, among others, strengthen the capacities of the four blocs in order to implement the Regional Strategy and Action Plan against Piracy and for Maritime Security adopted in 2010.
Within this framework, the EAC will lead the efforts to strengthen legal, legislative and infrastructural capability for arrest, transfer, detention and prosecution of pirates, both at national and regional levels.
In particular, support will be provided to investigative capacities as well as prisons/correctional services reform and capacity building offered to prosecutors and court staff. A key deliverable will include support to the operationalization of the EAC Regional Forensic Referral Centre.
Other activities run by other regional organisations seek to foster the implementation of the Somalia Inland Action Plan, to develop regional capacity to disrupt piracy financial networks, to enhance capacity for maritime tasks and support functions and to improve coordination and information exchange between stakeholders.
The MASE Programme falls under an EU comprehensive approach to fighting piracy and complement other EU actions such as EUCAP Nestor and Atalanta missions, the EU military Training Mission (EUTM) for Somalia and the Critical Maritime Routes Programme – MARSIC.
Speaking during the ceremony, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Finance and Administration, Mr Jean Claude Nsengiyumva applauded the engagement with the European Union in mobilizing resources geared towards uplifting the standard of living of the citizens in the region.
The EAC official reiterated that EAC greatly values the strategic cooperation with the EU and regards it as one of its key strategic partners. He assured the European Union of its highest consideration.
In his remarks Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi, European Union’s Ambassador said ” Improving Maritime Security is key to create favourable condition for economic growth and social development. The MASE programme will support the East African Community in taking part in global and regional efforts towards safer Eastern Africa coasts”
Earlier at the EAC headquarters, representatives from the civil society organizations and the private sector joined EU and EAC staff in a roundtable discussion on the Business Environment in East Africa as part of the EU-EAC week which will reach its climax on Friday 9th of May 2014.
The Round-Table Discussions themed; Business Environment in East Africa featured EU’s Amb. Sebregondi; Deputy Secretary General in charge of Finance and Administration, Mr. Jean Claude Nsengiyumva; Deputy Secretary General in charge Political Federation Mr. Charles Njoroge; the Chairman of the Tanzanian Private sector Foundation, Mr. Reginald Mengi; the East African Business Council Chairman, Mr. Felix Mosha; the Tanzania CEO Roundtable Chairman, Ali Mufuruki; and the East Africa Civil Society Forum Policy Advisor, Mr. Robert MMAITSI as the main discussants.