17 December 2012

East Africa: Regional Pact to Address Engineers' Shortage

Kampala — There is only one engineer serving 65,000 people in the East African Community (EAC) which emphases that there is a gap that needs to be filled in this sector of the economies.

This therefore calls for building diversity to have engineers ready to serve the East Africa population adequately.

Registrars from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania witnessed by representatives from Burundi and Rwanda and institutions of Engineers held the signing ceremony for the Mutual Recognition Agreement for Professional Engineers in the East African Community.

A statement issued by the EAC secretariat said that the registrars and the presidents of the engineering registration boards in the partner states pointed out that some of the benefits expected from the agreement.

They said that the agreement will facilitate the movement of professional engineers and maintain the diversity of the engineering service providers that come onto the EAC markets, economic integration.

It will also increase availability of greater consumer choice of engineering services and engineering institutions, increase opportunities for mutual learning.

It will spur the transmission of regulatory experience, harmonise the engineering services and enhance stimulus for professional engineers to make the necessary adaptations to the changing economic and social environments.

This will raise professional standards as well as the level of access to professional engineering services.

The statement added that the registrars recalled the second EAC Heads of State retreat on infrastructure development and financing was held on the theme "Deepening the EAC integration Process through Development of Efficient Infrastructure Systems to support Industrialization and Trade" that took place on 29th November 2012.

The leaders among others embraced the need for strong infrastructure partnerships with neighboring countries for the development of regional infrastructure, exploitation and interconnection of power and energy resources between EAC partner states and the neighboring states.

The registrars emphasized the great role they have to play in regard to infrastructure development and signing the MRA is the stepping stone to facilitating engineering professionals in effectively playing their role. The registrars underlined one of the major challenges in realizing the full potential of engineers.

Despite the fact that they are not parties to the agreement, Rwanda and Burundi are yet to carry out professional conformity assessments.

In addition, the two countries are still in the process of establishing the necessary legal and institutional framework for the engineering profession. The registrars look forward to the Republics of Burundi and Rwanda appending the MRA in due time.

The Registrars, Eng Gilbert Arasa of the Engineers Board of Kenya, Eng Steven Mlote of the Engineers Board of Tanzania, and Eng James Okiror of Uganda signed agreement.

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