Regional Centre of Excellence for Vaccines, Immunization and Health Supply Chain Management gets US$ 17m funding
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The cooperation between the East African Community and the Federal Republic of Germany has gained new momentum following the signing of two Government Agreements paving the way for the implementation of projects of a total volume of US$65 million in the areas of health, digital skills and water resources management.
The agreements were signed on Monday 17th May 2021 by EAC Secretary General, Hon (Dr.) Peter Mathuki and Regine Hess, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United Republic of Tanzanian and the EAC.
Amb. Hess, who paid a courtesy call on the Secretary General at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, congratulated the Dr. Mathuki on his assumption of office as new Secretary General at the end of April.
On the occasion of their first meeting, Amb. Hess and Dr. Mathuki signed two government agreements on development cooperation. The Agreements are the legal basis for the implementation of projects in the areas of health, water resource management and digital skills, worth 65 million US Dollars (EUR 53.8 million).
In the health sector, the continued cooperation with the Regional Centre of Excellence for Vaccines, Immunization & Health Supply Chain Management, located at the University of Rwanda in Kigali (17 million Dollars), will allow the centre to expand its expertise and reputation, especially in the areas of digitalization in health supply chain management, cold-chain management and quality control / drug safety.
Also under the health sector is the release of additional funds (30 Million Dollars) for the EAC’s immunization programme with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance that will contribute to reducing child morbidity and mortality in the region. The funds will finance the procurement of at least four different types of vaccines (Pentavalent, Rotavirus, Pneumococcal and Measles second dose), to be made available for routine immunization and immunization campaigns for children in all six Partner States of the East African Community.
The Integrated Water Resource Management Programme, which was successfully launched in mid-February 2020 and is implemented by the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), an EAC institution, will be stocked up (by 12 million Dollars) to finance additional measures to improve water quality and availability through strategic and sustainable management of the Lake Victoria Basin.
In order to strengthen digital skills and innovation in East Africa, the Secretariat and Germany further agreed on the implementation of the project “Digital Skills for an Innovative East African Industry” (dSkills@EA) that builds on the results of the project “Centre of Excellence for ICT in East Africa” (CENIT@EA). The new phase (USD 6 million) strengthens digital skills of especially young women and men from all six EAC Partner States to strengthen their employability and innovation capacities.
Based on a strong industry-academia partnership and regional collaboration, dSkills@EA together with the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) will promote innovative digital solutions for the region’s economic development through the Master programme “Embedded and Mobile Systems”, trainings and innovation transfer and entrepreneurship.
Ambassador Hess underscored Germany’s commitment to remain one of the leading partners to the region.
“We can look back to over 20 years of successful cooperation with the EAC Secretariat. We are committed to continue this cooperation in key areas such as health, trade and economic infrastructure; and technical and vocational education and training under your new leadership of the EAC Secretariat, Hon. Secretary General Mathuki,” said Amb. Hess.
She expressed her appreciation, that the cooperation particularly supports the youth in the region, adding that the younger generation in East Africa would benefit from the programmes.
With a view to the current Covid-19 pandemic, that also hit hard Eastern Africa, Ambassador Hess promised that Germany will commit additional funds of up to US$6.6 million for pandemic preparedness and response in 2021, to be implemented through existing EAC-German programmes on pandemic preparedness, economic integration and digital skills.
On his part, Dr. Mathuki thanked Germany for her continued support to the EAC integration process stretching back to 1999 when the Community was established.
“The EAC and the Federal Republic of Germany have enjoyed a long-standing partnership since the EAC inception. Over the last 22 years, commitments from the German government amounting to over 516.88 million Euros to programmes and projects aimed at advancing EAC integration, specifically focusing on economic and social integration,” said Dr. Mathuki.
“The signing today of the two government agreements on development cooperation amounting to 65 million US Dollars (EUR 53.8 million) demonstrates the commitment of the Federal Republic of Germany to support the EAC Integration. It is my intention to continue strengthening this partnership,” he added.
Dr. Mathuki informed the German envoy that the Covid-19 pandemic had devastated economies in East Africa over the past one year and thanked Germany for her support combating the deadly virus.
The Secretary General said that the EAC was well on course with the implementation of the Customs Union, Common Market, Monetary Union and the Political Federation.
“In establishing the Monetary Union, we will borrow a lot from the EU especially on how it set up the Eurozone and its experience with a single currency. We intend to benchmark with the best as far as the Monetary Union is concerned,” said Dr. Mathuki.
Also present at the function were the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, Rt. Hon. Martin Ngoga; EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Planning and Infrastructure, Eng. Steven Mlote; and the Executive Secretary of the Inter-University Council of East Africa, Prof. Gaspard Banyankimbona.
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