East African country Kenya has received KSH 203.5 Million from European Development Fund to support regional integration programs that are under the East Africa Community and COMESA blocs.
The grant will be used to finance the country’s projects and initiatives that are encompassed in the Regional Integration Implementation Program (RIIP).
This is an additional from previously received funds under the Regional Integration Implementation Program from KSH464.4 Million to KSH 667.9 Million since 2012. The government of Kenya reaffirmed the commitment to properly utilize the funds by establishing an inter-ministerial coordinating committee that oversees the integration program.
Kenya’s Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said that “Kenya remains ahead in the implementation of regional integration commitments. Resources have been channeled towards unlocking financing challenges in the implementation of regional integration commitments”.
Some of the milestones achieved by the Regional Integration Implementation Program is reduction of non-tariff barriers by 70% annually in the bid to create a conducive environment and promote regional trade.
Other remarkable achievements include harmonization of standards that facilitate regional trade, air transport liberation harmonization of road charges and domestication of COMESA Common Investment Area Agreement.
Some of the key areas and issues that need to be addressed in the trade facilitation area; ease of goods and services movement, avoidance of double taxation, transit facilitation and technical standards will be beneficial in trade expansions and investment bolstering in Kenya.
Regional trade and expanded investment opportunities can only be achieved if the grants are used hand in hand with some framework put up. Creations of one-stop border posts at all border points and coordinated border management are the first step towards integrated regional trade.
The East Africa Community received major boost and grants from their ‘model community’, the EU in a bid to create a functional integrated community. One of the key investments by the EU is trunk roads in Kenya leading to initially Uganda and recently Ethiopia.
The Regional Integration Implementation Program is a very fundamental aspect of the East Africa Community and highly determines the success level of integrating the East African Region. It is charged with put all the necessary framework that will form the shell from which the East Africa Community will operated smoothly.