The East African Community (EAC) presidents have agreed to establish a fund for small and medium businesses to cushion them from Covid-19 effects.
President Museveni, Uhuru Kenyetta, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Salva Kiir of South Sudan met yesterday via video conferencing and agreed that after Covid-19, each partner state should set up “a special purpose financing scheme” to help small and medium enterprises which employ majority in the region.
It is not clear why the presidents of Burundi and Tanzania did not attend the summit that was intended to put in place measures to reduce the increasing Covid-19 infections.
The Covid-19 outbreak has disrupted the value chains in the region and small enterprises in the region have been adversely affected.
According to the statement issued by the EAC secretariat, the presidents also agreed that agro-processers should be facilitated to continue.
“The heads of State further directed partner states to facilitate farmers to continue farming activities during this pandemic and post Covid-19 period, support agro-processing and value chains as import substitution measures….
The presidents directed that the truck drivers who transport goods across the region must be tested in the countries of departure.
“The Heads of State directed the focal persons to immediately work on a regional mechanism for testing and certification of the truck drivers prior to their departure at the point of origin and every two weeks, report to the Heads of State.”
The EAC is trying to end the new infections spread by the truckers who drive cargo in the region. In Uganda, out every 10 infected persons, six are truck drivers from Kenya, Tanzania.
The meeting agreed that the countries should share test results.
The Heads of State decided that partner states adopt a harmonized system for certification and sharing of Covid-19 test results.
The presidents also called for the need for “flexibility” in the application of EAC rules and procedures when the region is faced crisis.
The summit was delayed because South Sudan asked for postponement. According to the Chapter 4, all member should be represented during the Heads of State Summit.