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US prioritises health, trade in EAC partner states

THE US has highlighted its priorities in Tanzania and East African Community (EAC) partner states, including health, trade and investment.

New US Ambassador to Tanzania and EAC Donald Wright told EAC Secretary-General Liberat Mfumukeko that during his term, he would focus on prosperity, democracy, good governance and youth empowerment.

He noted that the new US administration under President Joe Biden was committed to multilateral engagement at regional and international levels with the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU) and regional economic blocs, including EAC.

The US envoy disclosed that the US had advanced $200m in direct and complementary support to EAC over the past five years. Mr Wright informed the SG that the US was committed to supporting the integration process in the EAC bloc, adding that incorporation was key to promoting economic growth and political stability in the region.

He was thus accredited as the country's representative to EAC after he presented his credentials to the EAC secretary-general at EAC headquarters in Arusha.

Receiving the US envoy, Mr Mfumukeko hailed historical strong relations between the US and EAC partner states. He singled out the $194m agreement between the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and EAC that had been used to support critical sectors such as trade, health, agriculture, environment and energy.

"At EAC, we are trying to improve livelihoods and basic needs of the population, most of who are engaged in agriculture. I can, therefore, say that USAID assistance targets key sectors of the economy within our communities," said the SG.

He informed Mr Wright of the EAC Customs Union and Common Market protocols that basically aimed at promoting intra-regional trade, free movement of persons, labour, capital, services and investment in the region.

EAC has made efforts to harmonise the financial sector in the region with the support of the World Bank principally in sectors such as banking, capital markets, trading in bonds and cross-border payment systems. He said harmonisation of the financial sector was critical to the establishment of the East African Monetary Union expected to culminate in a single currency by 2024.

East Africa is endowed with abundant investment opportunities especially in agro-processing industries and the American private sector is welcome to take advantage of the opportunities.

Some of attendees to the ceremony were EAC Deputy Secretary-General in charge of the Productive and Social Sectors Christophe Bazivamo, EAC Principal International Relations Officer Suma Mwakyusa, US Liaison Officer at EAC Beatrice Ekallam and Mr Phil Nervig, Deputy Chief of the Political-Economic Section at the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

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