The European Union (EU) will continue to offer its assistance, to the best of its abilities, to the East African Community (EAC).
The Head of the EU Delegation to Tanzania and the EAC, Amb Roeland Van de Geer, said that over the seven year period from 2014 to 2020, the EU and the EAC were addressing key challenges in East Africa by jointly implementing an ambitious development programme through the 85 million Euro 11th European Development Fund.
Amb. Van de Geer further said that, in addition, EU Member states were also making available considerable amounts in development support to the EAC.
"However important aid may be, trade and investment are crucial for a better future for all East Africans," said the envoy. Amb. Van de Geer said the EU would continue to partner with the EAC in development cooperation and the promotion of peace, security and democracy in the East African region.
He noted that the two blocs had witnessed increased cooperation over the past two decades, adding that the wide ranging cooperation would continue in the political, economic and developmental fields.
Amb. Van de Geer was addressing guests during a cocktail event to mark the Europe Day 2017 at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. He acknowledged that despite many years of unprecedented economic growth, Europe today suffers from serious economic difficulties.
"Difficult as the times may be, our Union, built on solidarity and on the strong commitment to peace and development, see these tough times as an opportunity for change, improvement and reform.
Our collective European response is a new level of joint economic governance intended to speed up economic recovery, thus contributing to global improvement," he said, adding that there was a silver lining to these challenges.
"Europe is not turning inwards; on the contrary, the current situation calls for well-coordinated and determined international action and narrow cooperation with our partners worldwide, in Asia, the Americas, Oceania and certainly also in Africa, the continent to which Europe feels so closely connected," said Amb. Van de Geer.