The East African Community (EAC) has tabled before the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) the budget estimates for the 2023/2024 Financial Year totaling $103.842 million for the 2023/2024 Financial Year.
This year’s budget is an increase from the amount of $91.57 million approved by the August House for the 2022/2023 Financial Year.
Tabling the speech before the Assembly, the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers and Burundi’s Minister for EAC Affairs, Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Dr. Ezéchiel Nibigira, said that the budget estimates for the Financial Year 2023/2024 were being presented at a time when the EAC economies were experiencing global shocks arising from the on-going Russia-Ukraine war, tight global financial conditions, lingering effects of Covid-19 and the impact of climate change.
“Despite these challenges, economic growth in the region improved to 4.8 percent in 2022 from 3.5 percent in 2021. The strong growth in the region was supported by the good performance of the industry, services, construction, mining and manufacturing sectors,” said Dr. Nibigira.
“Global economic growth is expected to remain weak, mainly due to anti-inflationary measures and geopolitical risks,” added the Minister.
Hon. Nibigira projected a positive outlook for EAC economies, largely driven by the strong performance of the services sector, prudent government policies and increased public and private investment.
“However, downside risks remain, attributed to weaker global growth, tight financial conditions and climate change risks,” said the Minister.
Hon. Nibigira disclosed that the EAC total trade increased by 13.4 percent to $74.03 billion in 2022 from $65.268 billion in 2021.
“In 2022, EAC total exports to the rest of the world were valued at $20.139 billion, while total imports from the rest of the world into the EAC amounted to $53.891 billion. Further, total intra-EAC trade grew by 11.2 percent to $10.910 billion in 2022 from $9.810 billion in 2021,” said the Minister.
“The major Intra-EAC traded products are cereals, cement, iron and steel, live animals, petroleum products, sugar, foods and beverages, which signify that our economies are agro-based with good signs of moving to industry-based.”
The 2023/2024 Budget is themed “Accelerating Economic Recovery, Climate Change Mitigation and Enhancing Productive Sectors for Improved Livelihoods.”
On priorities for the 2023/2024 FY, Hon. Nibigira said that the Community would focus on nine (9) priority areas, namely: strengthening of regional governance processes, and domestication of regional and international commitments for sustainable peace and stability; increasing sensitisation, visibility, knowledge, awareness and participation of the private sector, citizens and other stakeholders in the EAC integration process, and; harmonisation of trade related policies, laws and regulations, and streamlining of customs and trade facilitation systems for increased trade and investment.
Other priority areas are: harmonisation of fiscal and monetary policies, and establishment of requisite institutions towards the realisation of the East African Monetary Union, and; leveraging modern technologies to enhance productivity, value addition, and to promote regional supply and value chains and digital platforms.
Also under focus will be the: enhancement of the regional productive capacity and increase in value addition to improve the economic welfare of East Africans; strengthening of the social sectors to improve the social welfare of East Africans; improvement and expansion of quality multi-modal and multi-sectoral infrastructure to support free cross-border movement, and; strengthening of the capacity of all EAC Organs and Institutions to effectively discharge their mandate.
The 2023/2024 Budget has been allocated to the EAC Organs and Institutions as follows:
- EAC Secretariat – $50,931,553
- East African Court of Justice – $4,450,488
- East African Legislative Assembly – $17,681,365
- Lake Victoria Basin Commission – $8,471,980
- Inter-University Council for East Africa – $12,394,945
- Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation: $2,807,993
- East African Science and Technology Commission – $2,016,543
- East African Kiswahili Commission – $1,502,535
- East African Health Research Commission – US$2,193,811
- East African Competition Authority – $1,391,667.