EAC, Sweden in high level dialogue / Sweden reaffirms support to EAC integration process
ARUSHA, Tanzania, June 17, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Secretary General of the East African Community Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera today held a fruitful high level dialogue with the delegation from Sweden at the EAC headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania
The dialogue between the two parties focused on the on-going institutional review, financing of the Community, trade and investment, the EAC Partnership Fund, negotiations for the Monetary Union Protocol, political federation, Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations, COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite talks and human rights issues in the Partner States.
Amb. Sezibera expressed his appreciation for the Swedish government’s support particularly through the EAC Partnership Fund and also briefed the Swedish delegation on the developments in the integration process.
He informed the Swedish delegation that the move towards a single customs territory was high on the region’s agenda; as well as implementation of the Common Market Protocol. He added the region was also focusing on infrastructure development and conclusion of the negotiations for the Monetary Union Protocol.
The Secretary General asked Sweden for support in terms of building capacity for small and medium enterprises while on EPA negotiations Amb Sezibera called for greater flexibility by the European Union on the contentious clauses touching on export taxes and Most Favourable Nation (MFN) treatment.
“We need policy space that allows developing countries to negotiate with developed countries. It is very important for EAC in the EPA negotiations,” Amb. Sezibera said.
On Tripartite negotiations the EAC chief disclosed that the three blocs involved (EAC COMESA and SADC) have started discussions on free movement of persons among other things. He informed the Swedish delegation that the next round of negotiations is scheduled for next month.
On his part the leader of Swedish delegation and Sweden’s Ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania and to EAC H.E. Lennarth Hjelmaker reaffirmed his country’s commitment to support EAC projects and programs.
The Deputy Director, Africa Department in Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mr. Jakob Strom told the Secretary General Sweden was interested in seeing their financial contributions bear fruit through closer integration, and the creation of a conducive environment for economic development in the bloc.
In attendance were EAC Deputy Secretaries General Mr. Jean Claude Nsengiyumva (Finance and Administration), Dr. Julius Rotich (Political Federation), Hon. Jesca Eriyo (Productive and Social Sectors), Counsel to the Community Hon. Wilbert Kaahwa and other senior EAC officials.
East African Community (EAC)