Posted by: africanpressorganization | 27 October 2010

Finland names ambassador to EAC / Country commits 2 million Euros to EAC Partnership Fund




Finland names ambassador to EAC / Country commits 2 million Euros to EAC Partnership Fund



ARUSHA, Tanzania, October 27, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Finland has appointed its Ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania, His Excellency Juhani Toivonen, as Permanent Representative to the EAC. His Excellency Toivonen, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Finland to Tanzania presented his credentials to EAC Secretary General Ambassador Juma Mwapachu today at the EAC Secretariat headquarters in Arusha.

A 20 August letter of accreditation from the Finnish Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Stubb confirmed Amb. Toivonen’s appointment.

At the ceremony to present his credentials, Amb. Toivonen said he was in Arusha to address to the EAC “a strong message of committed Finnish support to the East African integration process”.

“My government is taking yet another step in deepening our already fruitful and mutually beneficial relationship,” the Finnish envoy stated.

This commitment was reaffirmed when the Finnish ambassador and the EAC Secretary General signed an agreement through which Finland committed two million Euros over two years in support of the EAC Partnership Fund, which Amb. Toivonen said was a signal that Finland supports the EAC integration process and its goal of bringing to East Africans accelerated economic, social and infrastructural benefits.

The EAC Partnership Fund is a basket fund with contributions from Development Partners to support activities in the EAC.

The Finnish ambassador also pointed out that the election exercises that have taken place in the region and those that are due in Tanzania and Uganda are a reflection of a commitment to good governance and noted that integration has contributed substantially to regional stability.

He called for an enhanced degree of political dialogue on matters of mutual interest between the EAC and Development Partners, and pledged Finland’s support to activities that will lead to a successful conclusion of the EU-EAC negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).

Speaking at the ceremony EAC Secretary General Amb. Mwapachu described the accreditation as a stamp on a traditionally strong relationship the EAC and Finland enjoy.

“My belief is that with this kind of [formal] relationship we can open up broader areas of cooperation,” Amb. Mwapachu said.

Finland and the EAC have had a close relationship for many years, with the former among the leading funders of the regional bloc’s programmes, through the Partnership Fund. In addition to the two million Euros committed to the EAC Secretariat today, Finland in September this year was admitted to the Lake Victoria Basin Partnership Fund, to which it also pledged two million Euros.

Amb. Mwapachu commended Finland for its continued support and assured the Finnish envoy that the EAC would be reviewing the structure of the Partnership Fund Steering Committee with a view to enabling it to advance political dialogue between the EAC and Development Partners.

The Secretary General reiterated EAC’s commitment to restarting EPA negotiations now that the EU has pledged to provide funding support for negotiating teams from EAC Partner States. The talks had stalled partly due to lack of funds.

“I want to assure you that as EAC we are very much committed to restarting EPA negotiations,” Amb. Mwapachu said. “We will strive to ensure that progress has been made before end of November”.

Brazil, USA, Denmark, Turkey, Democratic Republic of Congo, Netherlands, Japan, Belgium, France, Canada, India, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the European Union have also appointed representatives to the EAC.



East African Community (EAC)


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