IRI promises increased support for Youth, Women in EAC region
The International Republican Institute (IRI) has pledged to increase its support for women and the youth within the East African Community so that they can participate more actively in leadership and the democratisation process in their countries.
IRI President Mark Green said that under the Women’s Democracy Network, the institute was seeking to provide assistance to women interested in running for political positions and mobilising communities.
Mr Green said IRI was also working with the youth under a new initiative - Generation Democracy - so that they can constructively participate in governance and democratisation pointing out that in most countries the youth were either helping older leaders to build a better world or fighting those in power.
Mr Green reaffirmed IRI’s commitment to support the nurturing of democracy all over the world, saying the US was keen to share its mistakes with nascent democracies so that the latter don’t repeat the same.
He described the EAC as a vast market which if reinforced by a good transportation network would also revitalise regional trade and open up a gateway to Central Africa which is largely unexploited.
The IRI President was speaking when he paid a courtesy call on the EAC Secretary-General (SG), Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera, at the EAC headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
In his remarks, Amb. Dr Sezibera thanked IRI for working closely with the EAC and the East African Local Government Association (EALGA) to improve local governance, effectiveness of decentralization policies and their implications in regional integration.
Dr Sezibera said the EAC was actively engaging women and the youth in its programmes and singled out the EAC Youth Platform, the Youth Ambassadors Programme and the Women in Business Programme. He added that the Women in Business Programme was meant to empower women economically by opening doors in business for them and assisting them financially.
He said good governance and democratisation were enshrined in the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC noting that a protocol on good governance was still under negotiation by the Partner States.
Dr Sezibera said significant progress had been recorded in the EAC region with goods beginning to move more freely in addition to the free movement of labour and persons. He disclosed that an East African e-passport was in the offing and could be launched by the end of this year.
The SG said the free movement of labour across the region had to be anchored on the harmonisation of curricula and education systems, adding that an East African Higher Education Area would be launched by the end of the year.
On infrastructure development, the SG said the Community was putting emphasis on railways, energy and ports.