Sunday, November 11, 2012

In order to ensure that East Africa remains safe for investments, the Arusha-based East African Community (EAC) and the International Police (INTERPOL) have agreed to co-operate in security matters for mutual benefit.
 
This was underscored by Secretary General Dr Richard Sezibera when he met his INTERPOL counterpart, Roland K. Noble, at the 81st Interpol General Assembly session in Rome, Italy, over the weekend.
‘’As the EAC integration deepens and widens, with the implied freedoms brought about by the implementation of the Common Market Protocol, negative effects like transnational crimes like drugs,human trafficking, counterfeit goods and cyber crimes among others are also gaining sophistication and must be resolutely fought,’’ DrSezibera underlined.
The EAC chief added that the role of the INTERPOL therefore becomes key in complementing EAC’s strategic peace and security interventions.
INTERPOL and EAC are expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) soon.
The EAC recognizes INTERPOL’s expertise and competences in security areas and how it would stand to benefit from the partnership.

According to EAC Secretariat statement, the negotiations between the two organizations for a cooperation framework commenced in 2009 with an aim to optimize the relative advantage and competences of the two organizations in delivering safety and security in the EAC Region.

At the moment all EAC Partner States are actively engaging with the EA INTERPOL Regional Bureau.
The EAC Council of Ministers has already pronounced itself on the need to adopt EAPCCO decisions as EAC Decisions. The conclusion of the MOU will facilitate enhancing the pace at which INTERPOL decisions within the context of the East African Police chiefs Cooperation Organization are implemented.
The MOU provides a formal platform with which both EAPCCO and EAC can participate in each other’s technical working groups and decision processes but also support a mechanism for joint implementation of projects and programs.

The Maritime Security Project (MASE) and the Establishment of Regional Centers of Excellence will provide a solid ground on which this partnership will further be harnessed for mutual benefit.

Meanwhile, President of the Rome-based International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) KanayoNwanze has assured full support for EAC Partner States’ efforts to fight hunger and become food self-sufficient.

He said that EAC would be their top priority in 2013 adding that his senior officials would be dispatched to discuss areas of co-operation in revamping food production in the region.

‘’EAC is exemplary in its integration programmes and I fully endorse for opportunities to work with the region’’, stated Nwanze during discussions with DrSezibera at Rome-based IFAD Headquarters.
DrSezibera informed the IFAD President that EAC has developed an Action Plan to reverse the region’s persistent food insecurity.

‘’The region is frequently affected by food shortages and pockets of hunger although it has capacity to produce enough food for local consumption and surplus for exports to the world market,’’ the EAC Secretary General said.

He added that the five-year action plan was adopted by the 9th Extra-Ordinary Summit of EAC Heads of State, the highest decision making body, mid this year.
The aim of the Action Plan is to significantly increase production of strategic food security commodities through access to inputs and promotion of cross border production in the region.

The EAC was also establishing early warning system for monitoring food shortage, said Amb. Sezibera.
SOURCE: GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY

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