Senators and Representatives of the Congress from the United States of America underscored this when they paid an official visit to the Secretary General for the East African Community, Dr Richard Sezibera, in Arusha.The Secretary General used the occasion to hail the existing cordial relations between the EAC and the United States of America.
According to Dr Sezibera, the region had generally benefited from trade with regards to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). He, however, added that more could be achieved especially on the supply side, in the mutual relationship between both sides.
The AGOA, signed over ten years ago, offers tangible incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets.Dr Sezibera said the EAC was open to more structured discussions with the USA on improving the business relations, noting that a bilateral investment agreement framework between both parties was in the offing.
“At the moment, I am aware that USA has interests in agriculture, energy and the financial services among others and we welcome further investments into the region,” the EAC Secretary General noted.The delegation led by Senator James Inhofe, Member of the Okhlahoma House of Representatives, also included Senator John Boozman (Arkansas), Congressman Jeff Miller, Congressman Steve Pearce (New Mexico) and Congressman Vernon Buchanan (Florida).
They were accompanied by staff and officials of the United States’ House of Congress and Embassy of the United States of America in the United Republic of Tanzania. Also in attendance was the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Political Federation, Ms Beatrice Kiraso.
In his remarks, Senator Inhofe praised the Secretary General for leading his troops in the integration process and remarked that the EAC was a leading regional economic community spurring tangible benefits for the citizens.He said the region continued to be globally competitive and offered vast opportunities. Senator Inhofe further noted that the USA was keeping tabs on the progress and developments at the EAC.
The delegation which was in Tanzania for a two-day visit had earlier on paid a courtesy call on the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, Mr Abdirahin Abdi.The delegation led by Senator James Inhofe, Member of the Okhlahoma House of Representatives, appreciated the on-going progress at the Community and praised the role of EALA in the integration dispensation.
Senator Inhofe noted that peace and security were key components necessary if the EAC was to attract investments. He remarked that it was important for trade as a founding precept of the Customs Union to be at the forefront of the EAC as an economic bloc.
The EALA Speaker maintained that the EAC was on track and said legislation played a fundamental role in the entire process.”We have been consistent when it comes to enacting legislation and carrying out our mandate,” Speaker Abdi said, adding that EALA was advocating for the Partner States to move with haste to harmonize their laws with that of the Community.
“More needs to be done in terms of implementation especially with regards to the Common Market Protocol. It is not only the legislators demanding the need to move swiftly, but the citizens as well,” the EALA speaker stated.The rest of the delegation comprised of Senator John Boozman (Arkansas), Congressman Jeff Miller, Congressman Steve Pearce (New Mexico) and Congressman Vernon Buchanan (Florida).
They were accompanied by staff and officials of the United States’ House of Congress and Embassy of the United States of America in the United Republic of Tanzania.The delegation which was in Tanzania on a two-day visit also met with the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Dr Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, in Dar es Salaam.
The delegation which had earlier on visited the Republics of Burundi and Ghana, are scheduled to return home later this evening after completing the African tour.The visit by the legislators follows a recent call on the EALA Speaker by Mr Robert Scott, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of the United States of America in Tanzania.Ambassador Alfonso Lenhardt, the US Ambassador to Tanzania, has since also been accredited as the US representative to the East African Community.