1st Steering Committee Meeting of EAC Market Access Upgrade Programme underway in Arusha
East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 6th February, 2019: The 1st Steering Committee meeting of the East African Community (EAC) Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP) is currently underway at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
Officiating at the meeting’s session, the EAC Director General (DG) for Customs and Trade Directorate, Mr. Kenneth Bagamuhunda said that the overarching goal of MARKUP was to contribute to the economic development of the EAC by increasing the value of both extra- and intra-regional agricultural exports, focussing on exports to the European Union (EU).
“It is meant basically to promote increased regional and international trade through improved competitiveness, value addition for enhanced trade and investment,” said Mr. Bagamuhunda.
The DG commended the EAC Partner States for engaging in dialogue with the EU and other partners to guide the scope and approach to Market Access Upgrade Programme.
The DG, who spoke on behalf of the EAC Secretary General, Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko, said that the MARKUP would also enhance the capacity of the Community to take full advantage of the other free trade arrangements that are being concluded like the Tripartite COMESA-EAC-SADC Free Trade Area and the African Continental Free Trade Area.
He called for high level cooperation amongst the implementing agencies (GIZ, International Trade Centre and UN Industrial Development Organization), Partner States, the private sector, Project Coordination Unit (PCU), the EAC Secretariat, as well as the EU in order to ensure success of the project.
Addressing the same function, the Team Leader, Regional Cooperation at the EU Delegation in Tanzania, Mr. Jocelin Cornet, said the MARKUP was a pilot programme in the EAC-EU cooperation framework because it integrates national interventions complementing regional ones. Adding that the principle of subsidiarity was key to success in regional integration initiatives.
Cornet said that MARKUP was the first EU regional programme supporting the EAC Secretariat in developing key regional value chains and, in particular, a number of agro-industrial and horticultural products with high economic growth potential.
“We believe that sustainable cooperation programmes require clear ownership by our partners and last year's decision to fully integrate the MARKUP programme in the EAC decisional processes through the EAC Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment (SCTIFI) was to us a clear sign of ownership, which in itself deserves to be commended,” said Cornet.
He cautioned that MARKUP was a complex project which will require extra efforts in coordination in addition to wide consultations both at the national and regional level. Crucial in this will be the work of the programme's PCU, which he commended for the efforts in this initial phase.
The EU official further said that the setting up of appropriate governance mechanisms at the national level (like National Coordination Groups or Steering Committees) and the foreseen role of National Focal Points was equally very critical.
“Regional integration is not usually well understood by our citizens and therefore the need to put in place a well-coordinated and effective communication and visibility plan for MARKUP activities as this will ensure appropriate knowledge-sharing and buy-in from the many stakeholders,” said Cornet.
He expressed satisfaction with the work carried out so far by the main implementing partners in the EAC WINDOW, namely GIZ and International Trade Centre (ITC), and assured them and the Partner States WINDOW implementers (including UNIDO and the EAC Partner States) of EU’s trust and support and requested for quality results/outputs.
On his part, GIZ’s Senior Trade Advisor, Mr. Bernd Schmidt, said GIZ considers MARKUP as an important complement to the strong, positive and continued cooperation with the EAC Secretariat.
“MARKUP fits very well with the BMZ’s Marshall Plan with Africa which inter alia underlines that Africa must be more than the continent of raw materials. The economic policy which powers the German Marshall Plan focuses on diversification, the establishment of value chains targeted support for agriculture and SMEs and dismantling trade barriers,” said Schmidt.
Schmidt disclosed that GIZ will, among other things, coordinate activities aimed at improving the harmonization of standards and sanitary and phytosanitary measures in addition to closing implementation gaps.
The two-day meeting, which is being chaired by Rwanda’s Trade Negotiation and Cooperation Specialist, Mrs. Basemera Peace Mugisha, is considering the Report of the EAC-EU adhoc MARKUP Steering Committee meeting held from 27th to 28th February, 2018; MARKUP Progress reports on the EAC and Partner States Window, and: the Work plans under the Partner States Window.
The meeting is being attended by Permanent/Principal Secretaries from the Partner States’ line Ministries, officials from EU, GIZ, ITC, the East African Business Council and EAC Secretariat staff.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The East African Community (EAC) Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP) is a 4-year initiative funded by the European Union (EU), with co-financing from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation (BMZ) to the tune of Euro 39 million. It was launched on 20th June, 2018 at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. It covers, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. MARKUP addresses both the supply side and market access constraints of selected key export-oriented commodities: coffee, tea, cocoa, spices, avocados and other selected horticultural products. The overarching goal of MARKUP is to contribute to the economic development of the EAC region by increasing the value of both extra- and intra-regional agricultural exports, focussing on exports to the European Union.
This goal will be achieved through the realization of 4 key results:
- Improved capacity to advocate for the removal of sector trade barriers;
- Improved sector standards and harmonisation of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures;
- Enhanced export competitiveness for sector SMEs, and;
- Improved business development capacities for sector SMEs.
MARKUP has a two-pronged intervention approach:
- EAC Window: Supporting the EAC Secretariat to co-ordinate selected region-wide policyregulatory and capacity building initiatives, and
- Partner States Window: Supporting Partner States and stakeholders to implement country-specific or tailor made initiatives to address supply side and market access constraints.
The International Trade Centre (ITC) implements actions for Results 1, 3 and 4 of the EAC Window; while the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) implements actions for Result 2 and provides overall co-ordination of the Programme on behalf of the EAC Secretariat.
For more information, please contact:
Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
Tel: +255 784 835021
Email: OOthieno [at] eachq.org
About the East African Community Secretariat:
The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001:2008 Certified