Eastern Africa Regional Digital Integration Project (EA-RDIP) (P176181)
The East African Community (EAC) has four pillars for regional integration, which are in fact milestones towards creating a sovereign federation comprising EAC members. These pillars are a Customs Union, a Common Market, a Monetary Union and a Political Federation. The Customs Union took effect in 2005. The East African Common Market Protocol was launched in 2010. As a next step, the EAC’s goal is the implementation of a common currency by 2024, followed by a political federation thereafter.
Regulations, directives and decisions of the EAC Council of Ministers are binding on the member states and other Organs of the Community other than the Summit, the Court, and the Assembly. EAC acts have direct effect and take precedence over similar laws of Partner States. For example, the Customs Management Act, 2004 was enacted by the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) to replace the respective customs laws of the Partner States. It was directly applicable without a ratification process.
Decisions of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) on the interpretation and application of the EAC Treaty have precedence over decisions of national courts. (Art.33) Therefore, by virtue of this provision, certain EACJ court decisions have direct applicability in national courts. The EAC Treaty requires Partner States to pass national legislation to give legal effect to the EAC Treaty and confer upon the EAC legislation, regulations and directives the force of law. (Art. 8.2).
The EAC has initiated key steps towards regional digital integration. For example, the One Network Area (ONA), adopted by the EAC, has capped rates for cross-border voice traffic originating in the member countries and eliminated mobile roaming charges. This means that all calls among the EAC countries are to be treated as domestic calls. The EAC Council of Ministers also adopted an e-Commerce Strategy in July 2022, which aims to contribute to enhancing capacities for growth, improve legal and regulatory frameworks and increase trust in digital trade. The strategy also aims to strengthen cross-sectoral and public-private collaboration in developing regional approaches to cross-border e-commerce, a key building block towards a regional single digital market. However, the full implementation and expansion of the ONA and the e-Commerce Strategy require support both for the EAC as well as Member States.
The World Bank and the East African Community (EAC) are in the process of preparing the East Africa Regional Digital Integration Project (EA-RDIP). The EA-RDIP consists of a Series of Projects (SOPs). In Phase I, the SOPs include three countries from the Horn of Africa region - Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Sudan – as well as two Regional Economic Communities: The East African Community (EAC) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Country projects under Phase I will first and foremost focus on the development of the regional connectivity market, given the lingering and large infrastructure deficits that still exist at the national level in these three countries, while laying the foundations for initial development of the two other marker layers that will be the focus of subsequent SOPs. Meanwhile, EAC and IGAD were selected based on their mandate and membership, which allows for full geographic coverage of the whole Eastern Africa region, including the Horn of Africa sub-region.
Activities at the regional level have the ultimate goal of supporting the development of a dynamic, seamless “single digital market” (SDM), including cross-border services and ecommerce in-line with the African Union’s Digital Transformation Strategy 2020-2023 and its goals. Based on the SDM Framework, the activities under the project will focus on three main pillars of the digital market: connectivity, data and the online market more broadly. They will support the introduction of regional legal and policy tools that can facilitate online cross-border transactions for goods and services, as well as reducing regulatory barriers to investment and competition in telecommunications and improving the security of personal data, online transactions and critical infrastructure. Adoption of harmonized strategies, legal, and regulatory frameworks will contribute to the creation of a larger digital market capable of generating economies of scale and network effects critical to fuelling investment in digital infrastructure and services.
The World Bank’s Environmental and Social Standard 101 recognizes the importance of open and transparent engagement with all project stakeholders, based on the recognition that effective stakeholder engagement can improve E&S sustainability of project activities, enhance project acceptance, and implementation, and allow stakeholders to contribute to project design. The key objectives of stakeholder engagement include a) an assessment of the level of interest and support of the project by stakeholders to promote effective and inclusive engagement with all project-affected parties and b) to ensure that project information on E&S risks and impacts is disclosed in a timely and understandable way.
This Stakeholder Engagement Plan (SEP) outlines all stakeholder engagements for the EAC activities under the EA-RDIP in a systematic way. It defines legal and policy requirements in regard to stakeholder engagements, lists stakeholder engagements that have already been undertaken, provides a stakeholder analysis of all relevant project-affected parties, including members of vulnerable groups, to the EAC activities under the EA-RDIP and lays out the means of dissemination of information to different parties as well as means and ways to continue to consult different stakeholder groups throughout the project cycle. Furthermore, it contains a monitoring plan for the implementation of the SEP.
The East African Community shall ensure that the Project is carried out in accordance with the Environmental and Social Standards (ESSs) and this Environmental and Social Commitment Plan (ESCP), in a manner acceptable to the Association. The ESCP is a part of the Grant Agreement. Unless otherwise defined in this ESCP, capitalized terms used in this ESCP have the meanings ascribed to them in the referred agreement.
Without limitation to the foregoing, this ESCP sets out material measures and actions that the Recipient shall carry out or cause to be carried out, including, as applicable, the timeframes of the actions and measures, institutional, staffing, training, monitoring and reporting arrangements, and grievance management. This ESCP also sets out the environmental and social (E&S) instruments that shall be adopted and implemented under the Project, all of which shall be subject to prior consultation and disclosure, consistent with the ESS, and in form and substance, and in a manner acceptable to the Association. Once adopted, said E&S instruments may be revised from time to time with prior written agreement by the Association.
The East African Community (EAC) Secretariat will manage environmental and social risks and impacts of the project throughout the project life cycle in a systematic manner, proportionate to the nature and scale of the project and to the potential risks and impacts. The generation of waste is one of those risks that must be considered during the preplanning and implementation phases of the project. Waste management planning for the project should be conducted early as possible to identify sound management practices and procedures within legal and environmental frameworks. Possible waste streams that may be generated during project implementation may include electronic wastes, next to construction waste and other waste streams. The focus of this plan is on electronic waste or E-waste. An E-Waste Management Plan (EWMP) is used to describe the waste management related issues within the Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) industry sector and specify the best way to address these issues, giving specific actions, targets, and timeframes. This E-waste management plan should be implemented throughout the project’s lifecycle to protect the environment, biodiversity, and habitats, safeguard the health of the local communities, and comply with The World Bank Environment, Safety and Health Guidelines (ESHG), Environmental and Social Standards (ESS), and Good International Industry Practice (GIIP).