On 17th May, H.E. the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Tanzania and EAC, Regine Hess, paid a courtesy call to the Hon. Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC), Dr. Peter Mathuki, in Arusha. She congratulated him to the assumption of office as new Secretary General in April 2021. 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 USD 65 million (EUR 53.8 million).

To strengthen digital skills and innovation in East Africa, the Secretariat and Germany 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 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) promotes innovative digital solutions for the region’s economic development through the Master's programme “Embedded and Mobile Systems”, trainings, innovation transfer and entrepreneurship. dSKills@EA will be implemented by GIZ.

The Integrated Water Resource Management Programme, which was successfully launched mid-February 2020 and is executed by the Lake Victoria Basin Commission, an EAC institution, will be stocked up (by USD 12 million) to finance additional measures to improve water quality and availability through strategic and sustainable management of the Lake Victoria Basin.

In the health sector, the continued cooperation with the Regional Centre of Excellence for Vaccines, Immunisation & Health Supply Chain Management, located at the University of Rwanda in Kigali (USD 17 million) will allow the centre to expand its expertise and reputation, especially in the areas of digitalisation in health supply chain management, cold-chain management and quality control/drug safety.

The release of additional funds (USD 30 million) for the EAC’s immunisation programme with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance will contribute to reducing child morbidity and mortality in the region by financing the procurement of at least four different types of vaccines (Pentavalent, Rotavirus, Pneumococcal and Measles second dose), to be made available for routine immunisation and immunisation campaigns for children in all Partner States of the EAC.

Amb. 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.”

She expressed her appreciation, that the cooperation particularly supports the youth in the region, “I am proud that the younger East African generation will benefit from our programmes in particular.” With a view to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Amb. Hess concluded by promising that Germany will commit additional funds of up to USD 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.