EAC implements its COVID-19 response plan and reinforces border officers and communities in the fight against cross border transmission
The EAC Secretariat in partnership with the African Union Border Programme is reinforcing the border officers and communities to reduce the risks for cross border transmission of the corona virus.
The Secretariat has availed 9600 pamphlets on secure cross border movements (in English, French and Swahili). The pamphlets contain EAC, WHO and Interpol guidelines on secure management of borders and cross border movements during the pandemic and will serve to give relevant information to the border officers to guide their daily work for safe and efficient cross border movements.
Furthermore, 16000 reusable masks, 12800 gloves and 1600 bottles of sanitizers have been availed to selected 16 One-stop Border Posts within the EAC region. These materials will be serve both the 16 OSBP and their immediate surrounding border communities. Additionally, a training on using governing borders during the pandemic and in case of other emergencies will be provided electronically (and where possible physically) as well as a support for the mobility of border officers to sensitize border communities and monitor informal border crossing points via the provision of motorcycles.
Each One Stop Border Post in the Partner States will receive 300 guideline pamphlets on secure cross border movements, 500 reusable Face Masks, 400 gloves and 50 bottles of sanitizers for each of the One Stop Border Post.
The Secretariat has availed this support to the ministries in charge of EAC affairs in the 6 Partner States.
In the Republic of Rwanda, the materials and information Kits were handed over to the Director General of MINAFFET who in turn handed them over to Immigration received the materials.
In the Republic of Uganda, the materials were received by the Dr. Andrew Musiime Director at MEACA on behalf of the Permanent Secretary Mrs. Edith Mwanje, who was busy on other state duties. The handover ceremony took place at MEACA Head Office board room at Kingdom Building, along Shimoni Road in Kampala. Dr. Musiime in turn handed the materials over to the representatives of the Uganda Police Force; Citizenship and Immigration Control for onward delivery to Uganda’s selected Six One Stop Border Posts of Busia, Malaba, Elegu, Mtukula Mirama hills and Katuna.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Bode, (Portfolio Manager, GIZ Country Office Kampala) who represented GiZ, reaffirmed GiZ’s continued support to the East African Community and the Republic of Uganda in particular, as one of the Partner States of the EAC. He stated that the total materials supplied to Partner States did cost 95.000 Euros, which are being disbursed for the EAC and its Partner States, and Uganda will have her 06 OSBPs benefit from this support. He said the support would reinforce the capacities of the border agencies in both prevention and sensitization on Covid-19.
Present during the handing over ceremony at the Ministry of East African Community Affairs Uganda; were Dr. Musiime (Director of EAC Affairs who represented the Permanent Secretary Mrs. Edith Mwanje); Col. Geofrey Kambere (Commissioner for Immigration); AIGP Asan Kasingye (Uganda Police Force) and Mr. Kaguta (EAC-Secretariat). The beneficiary agencies expressed their deepest gratitude and appreciation for the EAC and GiZ for their continued support to fight Covid-19 pandemic. The two emphasized the importance of protecting border posts and its officers in the fight against the spread of COVID-19; and promised to deliver the received materials to the selected border posts and be put use in protection of the border agencies’ staff jointly.
On behalf of the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Andrew Musiime, Director EAC Affairs in Uganda, pointed out the strong and successful partnership between the EAC and the German Government in all EAC sectors. He underlined the significance of raising awareness amongst Ugandan citizens about the dangers of COVID-19. He thanks the Government of German for their continued support to EAC through GiZ ; and more so to the Department of Peace and Security in areas of capacity building, training, equipment and logistics. He looked forward to further cooperation and engagement in this regard.
Handover in the Republics of Burundi, Tanzania and South Sudan are planned to take place in the coming 2 weeks.
The EAC has been swift to develop guidelines to complement Partner States measures to fight against the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has and continues to bring several changes in daily lives particularly affecting movements including cross border movements. The handed over support and subsequent capacity building measures will reinforce border officers operating essential cross border movements despite the pandemic and finding themselves and the border communities in the frontlines.
The support has been facilitated by the GIZ support to the African Union Border Programme (GIZ-AUBP) as commissioned by the Federal Foreign Office of the Republic of Germany in strengthening border governance in Africa for peaceful, safe and efficiently governed borders conducive for regional integration.