The programme’s overall objective is to raise awareness among cross-border communities within the EAC region, with particular focus on small scale traders to enhance their understanding of the EAC integration agenda, as well as identify the stakes and opportunities of the EAC integration.
Speaking during the official opening on behalf of the EAC Principal Public Relations Officer, the EAC/GIZ Media Expert; Mr. Sukdev Chhatbar emphasized the importance of empowering the common ‘mwananchi’ at the grass-root level to enhance their involvement and active participation towards building a stronger and solid foundation for a people-centred EAC integration process. This is said noting that the people of East Africa are the key beneficiaries of the integration course.
“There is need to ensure that the citizens of EAC Partner States are well equipped with the necessary tools and skills to actively participate in the regional integration process and therefore contribute to the overall development of the region”, he added.
Simplified and audience-tailored presentations were delivered by Microjustice Rwanda (MJR) on the Customs Union and Common Market opportunities, benefits, requirements, processes and procedures for acquiring legal documents for free movement of goods, services, labour and capital at the border posts.
Participants of the programmes raised concerns on various issues assumed to affect the smooth undertaking of business across the border points, including non-adherence to the rules and regulations stipulated in the EAC Treaty as well as corruption within the customs and immigration departments. The queries and concerns were subsequently addressed by representatives from the Ministries of East African Community Affairs from Rwanda and Tanzania, also present at the workshop.
The programme is expected to adequately familiarize stakeholders with the benefits and opportunities of the EAC integration process, particularly the Customs Union, the Common Market and the rights and freedoms established under these protocols to achieve the EAC mission which is to widen and deepen economic, political, social and cultural integration. The EAC integration agenda aims at improving the quality of life of the people of East Africa through increased competitiveness, value added production, trade and investments.
Source: East African Community
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