By Azania Post Reporter
THE East African Community Partner States are set to benefit from increased development assistance from the French Development Agency (AFD).
Speaking AFD Chief Executive Officer Remy Rioux said that French development assistance had surpassed the 10 billion euros’ mark in 2017 and will double in 2020 because of President Emmanuel Macron’s commitment to the country’s development cooperation with the rest of the world.
He said that AFD’s focus was on sharing French expertise and financing, adding that 50 percent of the agency’s funding would go to Africa.
Rioux reiterated that French development finance was biased towards mitigating the effects of climate change, adding that France had accumulated many years of experience in financing for the phenomenon.
He singled out the Paris Agreement saying it was a voluntary policy that revolves around priorities identified by benefiting countries and regional economic communities. The Paris Agreement deals with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020.
Rioux said that France was searching for more partnerships and projects noting that the bulk of the funding for climate change would go to non-sovereign actors namely the private sector, civil society and local authorities.
The AFD Chief Executive was speaking at the residence of the French Ambassador in Dar es Salaam during a meeting between the agency and an EAC Secretariat delegation led by the Deputy Secretary-General in charge of Planning and Infrastructure, Eng. Steven Mlote.
On his part, the Ambassador of France to Tanzania and the EAC, H.E. Frederic Clavier, expressed concern at the glaring gaps between the skills needs of the private sector and the caliber of graduates churned out by East African universities.
“There are basically no capacity links between the training offered by universities and the needs of companies. There is an urgent need to support vocational training in the region,” said Amb. Clavier.
Amb. Clavier said that solar power should be a development priority everywhere in the world due to its convenience and affordability.
In his remarks, Eng. Mlote said that the EAC had made significant strides in the integration process, adding that the Customs Union and Common Market were already in place with steady progress being made towards the attainment of a single currency by the year 2024.
He further cited achievements in the transport sector including the harmonization of axle-load limits, driving standards, road sizes and signs, and cargo clearance and tracking systems.
Noting that one of the reasons for the collapse of the first EAC was lack of stakeholder engagement, Eng. Mlote said that the private sector was now a key player in the EAC integration.
Among the officials accompanying the AFD CEO was Bruno Deprince, the Director of AFD's Nairobi Regional Office. On the EAC side were Beata Mukabaranga, the Principal Resource Mobilization Officer, and Suma Mwakyusa, the Principal International Relations Officer.