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EALA mulls over Enhanced Communication and Outreach with Publics

EALA Speaker, Rt Hon. Daniel F. Kidega is rooting for enhanced and dynamic modes of communication to strengthen the regional integration process.

Consequently, the Assembly is expected to scale-up the flow of communication using a multi-faceted approach over the next three years as it enhances its mandate. Rt Hon. Kidega was speaking when he met representatives of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) who paid him a courtesy call at the Speaker’s Chamber last week.

The delegation consisted of the Regional Director of Programmes, Africa and Europe, Mr George Kunnath. Senior Programme Manager, Africa, Ms Majda Elbeid and Regional Finance Manager, East Africa, Ms Beverly Kaluli. The trio were in Arusha to review the relationship with EALA and to map the way forward on the working arrangements for the next phase (Phase 2).

Under the arrangement, WFD will assist to build the capacity of Communications component at the Assembly by revolutionising the online and social media platform to enhance interactivity between the Assembly and its constituents.

The move is expected to enhance outreach to many citizens and create a mode of interaction between the regional legislators and their citizens.

Mr Kunnath, WFD Regional Director, Africa and Europe Program said “there is need for the civil society groups to link in with EALA and further disseminate the much needed information to their cadre”. “We hope we shall realise this prospect”, he added.

The WFD Regional Director said innovative approaches to communications were necessary to spread the message of integration to all citizens of the region.

The WFD and EALA worked together under a three year Programme (April 2012 - March 2015) which realised a number of successes.

The overall programme focus was to strengthen staff and member capacity and to support Civil Society Organisation engagements. They further addressed some of the key challenges including; inadequate mechanisms for effective engagement of the civil society sector and other stakeholders, limited staff capacity to effectively execute EALA’s work at Committee and Assembly levels. Successes included; the development, production and adoption of a new EALA Strategic Plan for 2013-2018, design and development of a monitoring framework for the EALA Strategic Plan and training of departmental heads on its application.

Also achieved under the Programme was increased knowledge and hence, professionalism among staff on Parliamentary processes.

32nd Meeting of the Council of Ministers starts in Arusha

The 32nd Meeting of the East African Community Council of Ministers started this morning with the session of Senior Officials at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

The meeting which will run from 10-14th August 2015 will involve three sessions namely that of Senior Officials, the Coordination Committee (Permanent / Principal Secretaries) and the Ministerial Session.

The Council will among other things consider various reports including: Report of the Audit Commission; Report on the Implementation of Previous Decisions of the Council; Report on the 22nd Meeting of the Sectoral Council of Ministers Responsible for EAC Affairs and Planning; Report on the 18th Meeting of the Sectoral Council on Legal and Judicial Affairs; and, the Report on the High Level Task Force on the Amendment of the Treaty.

The Council will also review the progress on the negotiations with the Republic of South Sudan vis-à-vis the young nation’s application to join the Community.

Also, high on the agenda of the 32nd Council meeting is the upcoming 1st East African Manufacturing Business Summit scheduled for Kampala, Uganda from 1 to 2 September 2015.

The meeting will also consider the reports of various EAC institutions including the East African Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency, Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization; the Inter-University Council for East Africa, and the East African Development Bank.

Umuganura Festival held

The 2nd edition of the East African Community Arts and Culture Festival (Jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki Utamaduni Festival - JAMAFEST) entered day six at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) Nairobi, Kenya, with several activities taking place.

The theme of Day 5 and 6 is: Sensitizing the youth as conveyors of our cultural heritage. A Visual Arts Exhibition continued at the KICC Courtyard with traditional sports and children’s games at the KICC lawns. Various dance performances by cultural troupes from the EAC Partner States continued at the KICC’s Tsavo Ballroom.

The day started on a high gear with JAMAFEST hosting Rwanda’s Umuganura festival at the KICC’s Tsavo Ballroom. The Guest of honour, His Excellency Amb. James Kimonyo, the Rwandese High Commissioner to Kenya, informed JAMAFEST enthusiasts that Umuganura was marked in Rwanda with a public holiday as a tradition of sharing together in unity.

The High Commissioner said that Umuganura was one of the traditions that helped the Rwandese to transform their lives and country. “It is one of the homegrown solutions to the country’s issues. Other grassroots and homegrown initiatives include Gacaca, Umuganda, and Mihigo. It is a tradition of feeding children with milk and millet bread by leaders or elders”, said Amb. Kimonyo.

In keeping with Rwandese tradition, Amb. Kimonyo, symbolically “fed” all present in the ballroom with boiled maize cobs and milk. The Umuganura was marked by various performances by Rwanda artists joined by the Ambassador himself.

An 11-minute documentary on the HIV/AIDS scourge from Uganda by film producer Kasule Douglas crowned the event.

A Contemporary Designers’ Fashion and, Mr and Miss Cultural Integration show by EAC Partner States at the KICC’s Tsavo Ballroom was another highlight of the day. The Festival will climax tomorrow Saturday, 8th August 2015.

The festival website is: jamafest2015.eac.int.

EAC to unveil US$ 20M Private Sector Fund in November 2015

The East African Community will in November this year launch a Private Sector Fund with the aim of deepening the participation of the private sector in the EAC integration process.

EAC Secretary-General (SG) Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera said the US$ 20 million fund would be launched by the regional economic bloc’s Heads of State at their Summit in November 2015.

Dr Sezibera said private sector firms from all the five EAC Partner States were making contributions to the fund, adding that the EAC was working in close collaboration with the East African Business Council (EABC) on the initiative.

Dr Sezibera thanked the private sector for responding favourably to the Community’s proposal to set up the fund.

The SG further disclosed that the EAC had signed agreements with the European Union under which the Community will receive 85 million euros, in addition to financing for infrastructure and other development projects.

The SG was addressing the opening session of the EAC’s Pre-Budget Conference for the Financial Year 2016/2017 at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. Present at the function were Uganda’s Minister for EAC Affairs Mr Shem Bageine and Dr Odette Nyiramilimo, Chairperson of the General Purpose Committee at the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).

The two-day conference is being attended by MPs from EALA, EAC employees, delegates from the Partner States, as well as representatives of EAC institutions.

Dr Sezibera proposed that the Community focuses on the six priority interventions during the 2016/2017 Financial Year, namely:

  1. Full implementation of the EAC Single Customs Territory;
  2. Enhanced implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol especially with regard to: negotiating additional commitments and; interconnectivity of border immigration systems and procedures across the Partner States;
  3. Development of cross-border infrastructure and harmonisation of laws, policies and standards in the respective sub-sectors; implementation of a liberalised EAC Air Space; enhanced implementation of computerised weather prediction models; and, implementation of a One Network Area in telecommunications;
  4. Development and harmonisation of legislation, regulations and standards to establish an EAC Energy Common Market, including work on an EAC Energy Exchange and finalise remaining energy inter-connectors across borders;
  5. 4th Heads of State Retreat on Infrastructure Development and Financing; and
  6. EAC Peace and Security Initiatives

The outcome of the conference will be presented to the 32nd meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers that will be held from 10–15th August in Arusha.

In her remarks, Dr Nyiramilimo called for increased allocation of funds to the Social and Productive Sectors, adding that the sectors were at the heart of the East Africans and socio-economic development of the region.

“We urge you all to focus on priorities that touch on the lives of East Africans so that the integration process is a reality we can identify with. I am sure the Secretariat will support us all in this as we make efforts to take integration and its benefits to East Africans”, said Dr Nyiramilimo.

Second Meeting of The Regional Steering Committee for African Centres of Excellence held in Kampala, Uganda

The Regional Steering Committee for African Centres of Excellence (ACE II) held its second meeting on 27–28th July 2015 in Kampala, Uganda to consider the ACE II Protocol for Assessment of Proposals and Call for Proposals.

The two documents are paramount for the launch of the project and were approved by the Regional Steering Committee. The Committee resolved that the Call for Proposals be launched by 31st July 2015.

The Call for Proposal shall be posted on ACE II website (www.ace2.iucea.org) and IUCEA website (www.iucea.org), advertised in the East African newspaper and in local newspapers of the participating countries. Higher education institutions from the participating countries are invited to develop and submit proposals to the Regional Facilitation Unit (RFU) for selection as centres of excellence.

The ACE II project aims at promoting regional specialisation among participating universities within areas that address particular regional development challenges, and to strengthen the capacities of these universities to deliver high quality training and applied research in areas of priority to socio-economic development as identified by the participating countries.

The set priorities are Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); agricultural sciences, health and medical sciences; Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) and quality education; and applied Statistics.

IUCEA was selected to be the Regional Facilitation Unit (RFU) for ACE II by a Regional Steering Committee (RSC) which sat in April 2015.

RSC is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the project / programme. As a Regional Facilitating Unit, IUCEA will specifically facilitate monitoring and evaluation, coordinate capacity building initiatives for the selected centres of excellence and share good practices across the participating countries.

The RFU will also be responsible for managing the selection and evaluation process of the project’s regional competition as well as other preparatory activities, such as communication and dissemination of the project.

Ten countries are participating in the project namely, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

JAMAFEST takes EAC Outreach Programmes to Universities in Nairobi

The 2nd Edition of the East African Community Jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki Utamaduni Festival (JAMAFEST) entered day four on Wednesday at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) Nairobi, Kenya, with several activities taking place.

The theme of Day 4 was: Fusing the Old and the Current into One as we unravel the way forward.

A Visual Arts Exhibition was held at the KICC Courtyard with traditional sports and children’s games taking place at the KICC lawns. There were also various performances by cultural troupes from the EAC Partner States taking place at the KICC’s Tsavo Ballroom.

As a strategy to reach out to university students and the youth in Nairobi, dance performances with messages on EAC integration by artists from different Partner States were organised at Kenyatta University, University of Nairobi and the Technical University of Kenya.

The JAMAFEST Symposium 2015 themed Unleashing the economic potential of the creative and cultural industries of EAC was held at the KICC Amphitheatre.

While officiating at the official opening of the symposium, the EAC Deputy Secretary-General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, Hon. Jesca Eriyo, said it was encouraging to know that there was a wide spectrum of stakeholders interested in the development of arts and culture, emphasising the commitment by the Partner States and the Community to the advancement of the culture and creative economy of the region.

Hon. Eriyo said the symposium was aimed at promoting the arts and culture as a resource as well as the provision of opportunities and platform for exchange of information, ideas and interaction between cultural practitioners, public policy makers and the private sector in the region.

Hon. Eriyo said the creative and cultural industries ranging from art, film, design, fashion, music, performing arts to software and video games account for approximately 3% of the EAC Gross Domestic Product in addition to providing employment to citizens.

Hon. Eriyo disclosed that the EAC Secretariat in collaboration with the Partner States had concluded the regional mapping of culture and creative industries, adding that the report would shed more light on the sector’s actual potential.

Mr Bob Madanji, the Managing Director and Founder of Cinematic Solutions in Kenya called for the creation of Creative and Cultural Hubs where artists could thrive in order to unleash the economic potential of the sector within the EAC and beyond.

Mr Madanji emphasised the need for Partner State governments to appreciate the contribution of the culture and creative industries in the region, adding that this would increase the sector’s worth and the benefits that would accrue from such appreciation.

While making a presentation on Policy and Legal Frameworks for promotion of Film Industries in EAC, Dr Vicensia Shule from the University of Dar es Salaam (UoD), Tanzania, said piracy and counterfeit products were a big challenge to artists and the industry in all the Partner States.

“Sharing best practices and information is a big challenge among the Partner States, which needs to be addressed”, noted the UoD Don, adding that the East African Film Network was set up in 2014 with support from the EAC Secretariat and GIZ. She observed that the network had not effectively taken off and was largely unknown.

Ms Clarette Inamahoro, Burundi’s Assistant Minister for EAC Affairs in the Office of the President, while making a presentation on affordable financing for EAC culture and creative sector business said to ensure affordable business financing for the sector, many factors must be taken into account for example the creation of a regional strategy framework for strengthening peace and social cohesion by promoting promising initiatives in the sense of affordable costs.

“There is also the need to establish a professional framework for private cultural actors (civil society) that can contribute to a reflection for the establishment of cultural and creative industries promotional platforms, as well as the development of micro-enterprises to job creation in the sector and create a related regional fund”, said Ms Inamahoro.

The festival website is jamafest2015.eac.int.

All set for 1st Manufacturing Summit and Exhibition in East Africa

The Minister of State for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives from Republic of Uganda, Hon. Dr James Mutende has confirmed that all is set for the 1st Manufacturing Business Summit and Exhibition in East Africa scheduled to take place from 1-2 September 2015 at the Speke Resort Hotel, Munyonyo in Kampala, Uganda and that President Yoweri Museveni is expected to grace the official opening.

Addressing the press today at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala, Dr Mutende said the Summit and Exhibition co-organised by the East African Community Secretariat (EAC) and East African Business Council (EABC), in partnership with the Ugandan government, will provide a strategic platform for an extensive and intensive dialogue on opportunities and challenges of industrialisation in the region.

Dr Mutende informed the journalists that Manufacturing Business Summit is a platform borne out of the recognition that sustainable economic growth and development in East Africa is unattainable without creating a vibrant and diversified manufacturing sector. He said that the Manufacturing Business Summit, therefore, marks an important turning point for the future of manufacturing in the region.

Speaking at the same occasion, Uganda Minister of State for EAC Affairs, Hon. Shem Bageine, emphasised that the region is endowed with vast natural resources and favourable climatic conditions that provide a strong foundation for industrialisation.

He said the Summit will seek to create an avenue for the private sector to advocate and campaign for the acceleration of industrial reforms aimed at improving investment climate in the manufacturing sector.

On his part, the Director of Productive Sectors at the EAC Secretariat, Mr Jean Baptiste Havugimana, disclosed to the press that the Summit will also focus on bridging the knowledge gap in the latest trends in manufacturing practices through global benchmarking.

The Executive Director of Uganda Manufacturers Association, Mr Sebaggala Kigozi, commended the efforts to improve the investment climate in East African, and called on organisations to sponsor and exhibit during the Summit.

East African Arts and Cultural Festival ongoing in Nairobi

The Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya, H.E. William Ruto officially opened the 2nd edition of the East African Community Arts and Culture Festival (Jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki Utamaduni Festival - JAMAFEST) yesterday at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) Nairobi, Kenya.

The Deputy President, who represented His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta, urged the Partner States, through the Council of Ministers, to nurture arts and culture in the region by developing appropriate policies, strategies and programmes that address the creative industry in a holistic manner and tap into the abundant talents in the region.

He said the EAC Partner States in line with the Common Market Protocol must develop strategies through which the region can benefit from this lucrative trade opportunity to realise development gains while fostering, protecting and promoting the creative economy in the region.

The Guest of Honour further urged the Council of Ministers to be passionate about Sports and Cultural sectors by allocating enough resources for championing activities that bring the East African common citizens together.

“These activities, which are really close to the hearts of our common citizens, include festivals of this nature as well as sports and games competitions in all major disciplines”.

His Excellency Ruto said convening and hosting the 2nd edition of JAMAFEST in Nairobi was a big leap forward in creating social understanding among the East African people, who have common identity, aspirations and destiny; adding that “We need to use our arts and culture to creatively tell the East African story”.

The Cabinet Secretary for East African Community Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, Hon. Phyllis Kandie, who represented the Council of Ministers, disclosed that in an effort to strengthen the capacity of cultural actors, the Community will be focusing on facilitating and supporting the harmonisation of cultural policies and legislations within the region in order to create a conducive policy environment for transfer of knowledge, exchange of expertise and best practices among cultural actors in both the private and public sectors.

The Cabinet Secretary reiterated that the Council of Ministers recognises the important role that Culture and Sports play towards reinforcing the spirit of East African unity and development and galvanising a passionate, visionary and broad participation among the East African people, reflecting the basic principle of a people-centered regional integration.

The Secretary-General of the East African Community Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera said that although Jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki is a political project, the region’s unity would ultimately not be achieved through politics, but through culture.

Amb. Sezibera further noted that the bloc’s creative industry happens to be one of the most rapidly growing sectors in East Africa not only in terms of income generation (it is a 2 billion dollar industry), but also employment creation, as well as export trade. “Human creativity and innovation are the key drivers of the creation of wealth of households and countries in the 21st century. Our Community is no different”, asserted Amb. Sezibera.

The Secretary-General reiterated that culture enables development and contributes to the region’s national economies through investments in identity, innovation and creativity, adding that “culture can help build new development pathways for individuals, communities and countries - and, in contra distinction to growth based on natural resources, it contributes to equity - across gender, generations, regions, and countries”.

Contingents of cultural workers, artists from all the five Partner States of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda, and the Nairobi public are taking part in the week-long JAMAFEST under the theme; unleashing the economic potential of cultural and creative industries in the EAC. The festival website is: jamafest2015.eac.int.

4th EAC Students’ Debate set for Kampala

The 4th East African Community University Students’ Debate on EAC regional integration is set for 7-8th September 2015 in Kampala, Uganda.

This year’s debate will focus on values, ethics and leadership which are critical in advancing the broad aims of the EAC integration with the youth as key stakeholders. These three virtues are vital in moulding the choices that the youth make by imparting in them the desired morals such as integrity and accountability that are crucial for an integrated East Africa.

The debate aims to, among other things, promote continuous youth participation in EAC integration issues; encourage networking among university students to enhance regional integration; prepare the youth for future leadership roles, and; to popularize the EAC integration agenda.

To propose or oppose the motion, six participants are drawn from public and private universities from each of the five Partner States. However, participation in the debate is limited to students who are in their second year at the university pursuing a degree.

Interested applicants with good analytical and communication skills, and a good command of English are encouraged to apply. The debate will be conducted in English.

The debating session will be in three sets, each for one hour whereby the proposing team and the opposing team will debate. There will be room for rebuttals as well as intervention by the audience, for which each team will respond to. Each debating session will be concluded by a wrap up by the panelist or the interveners.

The top two teams will have rebuttals so as to get the winning team. The final decision will be made by the judges after consultations with the interveners, the moderator and timekeepers.

The best debaters will be appointed as EAC Youth Ambassadors 2015 / 2016 with an obligation to spearhead peer-to-peer learning in their respective universities in collaboration with the EAC Secretariat, the East African Legislative Assembly and Ministries of EAC Affairs in the Partner States. There will be a gala dinner where cash prizes will be given to the best debaters and the winning team.

Representatives from academia, private sector, civil society, media and technocrats from the East African region will attending the event to listen to the debates and comment on the strength of the deliberations and also recommend a way forward for the debate.

The gala dinner which will be officiated by the Secretary-General of the EAC, Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera, will mark the climax of the debating forum.

East African Arts and Cultural Festival kicks off in Nairobi

The 2nd Edition of the East African Community Arts and Culture Festival (Jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki Utamaduni Festival - JAMAFEST) kicked off with fanfare today at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi, Kenya.

Contingents of cultural workers, artists from all the five Partner States of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda, and the Nairobi public taking part in the JAMAFEST Carnival, which entailed a procession through the streets of Nairobi City.

The carnival was flagged off by Kenya’s Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Sports, Culture and The Arts, Mr Patrick Omutia, at the Uhuru Park Dais and snaked through Kenyatta Avenue, Moi Avenue, Haile Selassie, Harambee Avenue, Parliament road, and back to KICC.

Uganda’s Minister of State for Culture and Family Affairs, Hon. Rukia Nakadama and the EAC Deputy Secretary-General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, Hon. Jesca Eriyo, were among the notable participants who took part in the colourful procession.

His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to officially open the week-long festival tomorrow Tuesday, 4th August, 2015. He will be joined by the EAC Secretary-General, Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera, and the Ministers / Cabinet Secretaries responsible for EAC Affairs, and Sports and Culture from the five Partner States.

The theme of the 2015 festival is “Unleashing the economic potential of cultural and creative industries in the EAC”. The sub-themes are: Showcasing the EAC’s rich cultural heritage; Reflections and appreciation of EAC’s cultural and creative industry; Fusing the old and the current into one as we unravel the way forward; Sensitizing the youth as conveyors of our cultural heritage; and Celebrating our rich cultural heritage as a vehicle for achieving the EAC integration.

To achieve the theme and sub-themes, several live performances, exhibitions, and symposia have been lined. Live performance will include music, dance and movement, poetry, storytelling, drama, and acrobatics, among others. Popular traditional games within the region are on the list such as bao-ajua, kora and wrestling.

In light of economic empowerment, the festival has designated an area within the venue where local and participating artists are showcasing and selling their wares such as jewellery, clothing, curios, paintings, sculptures, and handcrafts. The festival website is: jamafest2015.eac.int.

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