PUBLISHED ON December 16th, 2014

Make the people own EAC : Call

Trade Mark East Africa has called on East African partner states to closely work with civil societies in the implementation of the East African Community (EAC) integration for their citizens to understand, own and benefit from the integration.

Opening the 3rd Civil Society Forum, which attracted activists from across the region here yesterday, Trade Mark East Africa resident director Josaphat Kweka assured the EAC partner states and civil society organisations in the region of its continued support for the integration to be built on a strong foundation.

“As you all know, the volume of informal cross-border trade is as big as the formal one. There is a need for assisting women’s institutions, for women mostly engage in informal trade,” Dr Kweka said.

He explained that the move would greatly reduce household poverty levels and contribute to the national coffers.

Dr Kweka said the prime goal of reviving regional integration was to expedite development amongst partner states and improve lives of East Africans.

“Partner states have a chance for and a big contribution to forge development by grabbing opportunities that come with the process,” he said.

Dr Kweka challenged participants to use the forum to discuss their contribution required for strengthening the EAC integration process, saying civil societies were close to the people.

Going under the theme: the Role of Civil Society in Strengthening East African Community, the forum’s goal was to give participants an opportunity to deliberate on, among other things, views of Tanzanians on the EAC integration and ways of improving education infrastructure for East Africans to benefit from employment, market and other opportunities.

Dr Kweka explained that Trade Mark East Africa would create an enabling environment for the private sector, civil society organisations and public institutions to participate effectively in the integration process.

The new Twaweza head, Mr Aidan Eyakuze, earlier told the participants that about 80 per cent of Tanzanians would like their country to remain in the EAC integration process.

A recent survey by Twaweza showed that the vast majority of Tanzanians are optimistic the country will still benefit from the process, despite past sentiments.

The most popular integration components to the respondents of the mid August survey were a single tourist visa across the region, intra-EAC travel using national identity cards, and joint infrastructure projects.

Source: The Citizen

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TradeMark Africa.