The New Times (Kigali)

East Africa: Rwanda, Burundi Miss Out On Region'S Engineers' Agreement

Engineers from Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya will now have to move and practice their professionalism freely within their countries.

This was after the three partner states sealed a mutual recognition agreement on Friday in Arusha.

However Rwanda and Burundi are not part of the agreement due to what was described as lacking of professional conformity of the engineers in both countries.

The two countries will have to first establish the professional conformity assessments and the necessary legal and institutional framework for the engineering profession.

The East African Community's director of infrastructure, Phillip Wambugu described the move as an important tool towards practical implementation of EAC's Common Market Protocol, which is approaching the third year since its inception in 2010.

"This step taken by the engineers is critical as it opens the way for other professions to negotiate and sign their respective MRAs (Mutual Recognition of Academic and Professional Qualifications) and further enables the progress towards enabling cross border practices across Partner States," he said.

The agreement is seen as a developing factor that will facilitate economic integration; increase availability of greater consumer choice of engineering services and engineering institutions; increase opportunities for mutual learning and the transmission of regulatory experience.

According to the agreement professionals will harmonise the engineering services and enhance stimulus for professional engineers to make the necessary adaptations to the changing economic and social environments, thereby raising professional standards as well as the level of access to professional engineering services.

The registrars from the three countries underlined one of the major challenges in realising the full potential of engineers. To date for every 65,000 people there is 1 engineer in the EAC, this emmpasises the gap that needs to be filled thus, there is need to build diversity to have engineers ready to serve the East Africa population adequately.

Dr John Ouma Mugabe, a professor of science and innovation policy at the Pretoria University, South Africa while in Kigali last week during the launch of EAC science and Technology report highlighted the challenges of inadequate engineers what he said was hindering the economic development in the region.

He gave an example of China which he said has developed due to investing much in science and technology adding that the EAC needed to establish more engineering universities to combat the problem.

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