Incubator for Integration and Development in East Africa (IIDEA) Launched in Bujumbura
East African Community Secretariat; Arusha, Tanzania; 23 June 2017:
The Incubator for Integration and Development in East Africa (IIDEA) developed as a joint initiative between the EAC Secretariat, Regional Dialogue Committee (RDC), and GIZ was launched on Thursday, 22nd June, 2017, by Uganda’s 2nd Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of EAC Affairs and the Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers, Hon. Dr. Ali Kirunda Kivenjija, at the commencement of the 5th Annual Secretary General's Forum for Private Sector, Civil Society and other Interest Groups, in Bujumbura, Burundi.
Speaking during the launch event, Hon. Kivenjija said through the IIDEA project, the EAC is not only very proud to support private sector, civil society and other interest groups in East Africa, who are the region’s most committed partners in integration, but also to be able to provide tangible opportunities for citizens to enable them support, own and champion the integration agenda.
"We believe doing this will not only bridge the gap between East African Citizens and the EAC, but also strengthen the integration process.”
He informed the participants that since the commencement of IIDEA’s activities in April 2016, a total of sixteen projects have been approved by the IIDEA Committee for support. “Two projects have been successfully completed, fourteen are currently under implementation and all are producing promising results”, asserted the Chairperson of the EAC Council.
“In addition, IIDEA pioneering projects focus on issues ranging from technological innovation, gender empowerment, cross border trade, SMEs promotion and development, market access and information, youth skills enhancement and employment, saving for healthcare, art incubation, cultural integration among others”, stated Hon.Kivenjija.
The Chairperson of the Council commended Regional Dialogue Committee (RDC), IIDEA Committee and GIZ for their contributions towards making the EAC integration more than just empty words. "We applaud you and ask that you continue with the good work.”
Addressing the participants of the forum earlier during the official opening of the 5th SG’s Forum, Burundi’s Minister to the Office of the President responsible for East African Community Affairs, Hon. Isabelle Ndahayo said the 5th Annual Forum was first and foremost organized in the spirit of widening and deepening the EAC integration process.
“As a matter of fact, the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community and especially Article 7 paragraph 1 (a) stipulates that the principles that shall govern the practical achievements of the objectives of the Community shall include people-centred and market driven cooperation”, added the Minister.
“I have no doubt that the themes and sub-themes developed in this 5th Annual Secretary General’s Forum are going to emphasize the involvement of the citizenry and its implementation in the context of multi-stakeholder partnerships.”
She reiterated the commitment of the Government of Burundi to the involvement of Private Sector Organizations (PSO), Civil Society Organizations (CSO) and other Interest Groups in the integration process by establishing a National Dialogue Committee in accordance with the directive of the Council of Ministers.
On his part, the EAC Secretary General, Amb Libérat Mfumukeko informed the participants that Article 127 (4) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC specifically provides for an Annual Forum convened by the Secretary General of the East African Community that brings together the Parties to the Dialogue to discuss issues of mutual interest and engagement through sector specific fora.
He disclosed that the Civil Society Organizations has been fulfilling the principal of a people-centered Community by playing a major role in the implementation of the 4th EAC Development Strategy (2012/2016) and also advocacy for the extended Jurisdiction of East African Court of Justice (EACJ).
“Through their engagement in the integration process we have witnessed the negotiation and conclusion of Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) by professionals in the following areas; Accountants, Engineers, Architects; Veterinary Surgeons; the Land Surveyors and Advocates in East Africa, harmonization of education curricular with draft structures and frameworks leading to the harmonization of the EAC curricula developed and harmonized Draft Rules and Regulations guiding the conduct of Examinations in EAC Education institutions have been developed,” added the Secretary General.
Amb. Mfumukeko also highlighted the role of Private Sector in fulfilling the market driven principle of the Treaty by implementing the commitments enshrined within the EAC Customs Union and Common Market Protocols by improving the business and economic environment through evidence-based policy advocacy in the areas of harmonization of trade facilitation and regulatory framework, harmonization of product standards, advocating for free movement of the factors of production, as well as addressing trade barriers faced by women-owned businesses and Micro, Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
The Vice President of the East African Law Society, Ms. Anne Abeja said the biggest concern for any organization should be when their most passionate people become quiet. ‘’Let us, as participants and stakeholders of the SG’s Forum, not become quiet on matters of regional Integration‘’. We are here representing the people of East Africa, I believe we are passionate, that is why we are here to begin with, we therefore owe it to us all, to not just be heard but to be seen and felt as well in matters of Regional Integration and in implementing agreed recommendations”, affirmed Ms. Abeja.
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Notes to Editor:
EAC has been implementing the Consultative Dialogue Framework since December 2012 after its adoption by the 26th Meeting of the Council of Ministers. The Consultative Dialogue Framework provides for a structured dialogue between the East African Community, Private Sector Organizations, Civil Society Organizations and other Interest Groups and is guided by the principles enshrined in the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC (Articles 127, 128 and 129). The EAC Secretariat is organizing the SG’s Forum with support from GIZ.
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The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
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