8 9 Editorial 2017 was a challenging year for the global economy and for regional inte- gration. Political changes have increased pro- tectionist trends in many parts of the world. Nevertheless, East African integration has pro- gressed in many areas. This Journal 2017 about the GIZ-EAC cooperation shows some of the results and ben- efits of this cooperation and the EAC integration process. The EAC-German cooperation programme implemented by GIZ and funded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), currently in its 4th phase, is working closely with the EAC Secretariat and the Partner States, focusing on the Customs Union, the Com- mon Market and the preparation of the Monetary Union. In 2017 further headway was made in implementing the Customs Union by starting to implement trade facilitation agreements such as the Authorized Economic Operator Scheme. The Trade in Services negotiations are still ongo- ing, clarification and training on these processes are now enabling a rapid finalisation in 2018. The Monetary Union preparation was advanced by a study tour to European cen- tral banks and financial institutions to look at how the Eu- ro-zone countries manage the challenges and opportunities of a monetary union in the EU context. The IIDEA project (the Incubator for Integration and Development in East Af- rica) supported a multitude of projects that demonstrate the benefits of East African integration in the real world. We also continued working closely with our partner, the East African Community Secretariat and supported ac- tivities to improve the steering of integration, focusing on QMS processes, communication, the East African Monitoring System and the improvement of coordina- tion among the departments. The GIZ portfolio supporting EAC integration was extended with two new projects in 2017, both financed by the German government.The Pandemic Preparedness Project assists the EAC Secretariat in improving its regional crisis response ca- pacity to cope with outbreaks of pandemics such as Ebola or Avian Flu, with special emphasis on the WHO One-Health Approach. The Project ‘Academic Centre for Digital Innova- tion in East Africa’ is a cooperation with the Inter-Universi- ty Council for East Africa (IUCEA), involving an East African university and a partner university in Germany to develop a master study course specialising in embedded and mobile systems in close cooperation with the private sector. Last, but not least, the consultations between the German government and the EAC, in September 2017, provided an important and fruitful opportunity for both sides to discuss successes and challenges of the cooperation and prospec- tive areas of future cooperation.The upcoming government negotiations in 2018 will stipulate areas of cooperation and funds available in more detail. Germany has a long-stand- ing commitment to economic and political regional in- tegration. The conviction that regional cooperation is a central leverage point for the prevention of conflicts, the promotion of peace, and for the opening of new avenues for economic and political development resulting in polit- ical stability, prosperity, and peace, has been at the centre of German commitment to the EAC since the start of the cooperation in 1998. In 2018 we will therefore celebrate 20 years of cooperation between EAC and Germany. 2017 also saw some changes within GIZ: Mr Ernst Hustaedt took over as the new country director for Tanzania, and responsibility of the GIZ-EAC programme was handed over from Mr Bernd Multhaup to Dr Kirsten Focken.