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Finland and Switzerland appoint representatives to EAC

By East African Community (EAC)
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ARUSHA, Tanzania, March 22, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Ambassadors of Finland and Switzerland to the United Republic of Tanzania today presented letters of credence appointing them as their countries' representatives to the East African Community.

The Finnish Ambassador to Tanzania Her Excellency Amb. Sinikka Antila, was first to present her letter of accreditation to the EAC Secretary General Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera appointing her Finland's envoy to the bloc.

The Finnish Ambassador told the Secretary General that Finland “is committed to supporting regional integration”, noting that despite a being a small country it had immensely benefited from its membership to the European Union.

She added that Finland believes that regional integration is important for the growth of African economies, and indicated that the country is ready to consider continued support for the EAC through the Partnership Fund as well as funding for the Lake Victoria Basin Commission.

The Secretary General welcomed the appointment of a Finnish representative to the EAC, remarking that Finland has been a good supporter of the EAC and that the Community looked forward to more support.

Amb. Sezibera updated the Finnish envoy about the bloc's latest undertakings, including work to turn EAC into a single Customs territory, the adoption of an Industrialization Policy and Strategy, negotiations for the Monetary Union Protocol as well as negotiations for the Economic Partnership Agreements, which he said would be concluded soon.

The Secretary General also noted that emphasis would be placed on development of infrastructure as this would help to deal with supply-side challenges.

Switzerland names envoy to EAC

Later in the day, His Excellency Amb. Olivier Chave, Switzerland's Ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania presented his accreditation letter as his country's Special Representative to the East African Community.

While presenting his accreditation letter to the EAC Secretary General, Amb. Chave explained that Switzerland viewed EAC as an important vehicle for economic and political development in the region and assured the Secretary General of Switzerland's support to the integration agenda.

While welcoming the Switzerland Ambassador to the EAC headquarters, Amb. Sezibera, highlighted major developments taking place in the integration process, notably the coming into force of the EAC Customs Union on 1 January 2005, and ongoing implementation of Common market after the commencement of the Common Market Protocol from July 2010.

He also informed the Ambassador about the ongoing negotiations on the Monetary Union and reaffirmed the commitment of EAC Partner States to conclude the negotiations and sign the Protocol.