The EAC strives to widen and deepen economic, political, social and cultural integration in order to improve the quality of life of the people of East Africa through increased competitiveness, value added production, trade and investments. The Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community states that “the budget of the Community shall be funded by equal contributions by the Partner States and receipts from regional and international donations and any other sources as may be determined by the Council.” The EAC Secretariat is responsible for the mobilisation of funds from development partners and other sources for implementation of the projects of the community.
Based on these stipulations of the EAC Treaty, the EAC Partnership Fund (PF) was founded in 2006 as a basket pool to support EAC projects and programmes geared towards regional integration and socio-economic development, and to facilitate harmonisation and alignment of development partner support to the EAC.
Membership to the fund is voluntary and has changed over the last 10 years: a total of ten countries (Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and United Kingdom) plus the European Union have contributed to the fund between 2006/07 – 2014/15, while the World Bank is a non-contributing member. Observer members to the fund include Switzerland and Turkey. The observer status enables potential members to observe and understand operations of the fund before deciding on their membership.
The Fund is managed through a set of agreed rules and regulations which have been reviewed through a participatory process and preserved as a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The Partnership Fund Rules and Regulations guide the establishment of a steering committee comprising representatives of all members of the Fund and the EAC Secretariat to coordinate the Fund. The regulations detail the areas of support, composition and functions of the steering committee, procedures of meetings, and audit of the Fund. The co-chairmanship of the steering committee rotates among the development partners on a yearly basis; currently Norway holds the chair of the steering committee. The Partnership Fund Joint Steering Committee meets 2-3 times a year to agree on the operational plan and budget for the year ahead and approve the annual report of the previous year
Contributions by Development Partners towards the Fund ranged between 6 and 8 million US Dollars in the financial years 2008/09–2014/15. They dropped, however, to 2.7 million US dollars in 2015/16 as only four members (Denmark, Germany, Norway and EU) contributed. In order to improve the performance of the Fund, a manager and an administrative team solely responsible for the Partnership Fund will be recruited in the financial year 2016/17.
Contributions of Development Partners to the Partnership Fund (USD)
Source: EAC Partnership Fund
The Partnership Fund contributed to remarkable results in various fields of integration such as
- Support to the operationalisation of the Single Customs Territory
- Support to the implementation of the East African Monetary Union Protocol
- Support to the implementation of the Common Market Protocol
- Institutional strengthening of EAC
- Support to EAC sensitisation and awareness programmes
Currently the PF faces the challenge of fewer disbursements compared to previous years. Some development partners did not release the funds they had pledged. Consequently, many of the planned activities indicated in the work plan could not be carried out. PF members will be encouraged to make disbursements as pledged and also on time to avoid delay in implementation of activities.