1 March 2013

East Africa: EAC Awareness Campaign to Cost Sh1 Billion

THE Government has put aside 1bn/- to facilitate a public awareness campaign on the East African Community (EAC) for the next five years. The Minister for East African Cooperation, Mr Samuel Sitta said in Dar es Salaam during the launch of a five years communication strategy that the objective was to make sure people are well informed about EAC.

"Various surveys have shown that a majority of Tanzanians do not know the purposes, opportunities and objectives of the establishment of the EAC, through this strategy we will help them understand these elements," he said. Mr Sitta noted that the strategy will be implemented through various media promotions, symposiums, public rallies and publications.

"This strategy is crucial in the implementation of the ministry's Medium Term Strategic Plan 2008-2013 which puts emphasis on education dissemination to people on the opportunities available within the EAC and progresses being made," he said. Through the same strategy the ministry will also be able to get feedback from citizens on their understanding of various undertakings of the EAC.

The strategy has been divided into two groups including internal and external stakeholders with the aim of simplifying information dissemination to people. Mr Sitta said since its reestablishment in 1999, the community has grown rapidly from three to five countries, with many more looking for chances to join. He said the regional integration process is in good progress at the moment as reflected by the encouraging progress of the East African Customs Union (2005) and the establishment in 2010 of the Common Market.

The Chairman of the Tanzanian Members of East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), Mr Adam Kimbisa noted that Tanzanians should not feel second rate in the community as there are so many opportunities up for grabs. He cited as an example that there are over 1,000 vacancies in Rwanda for Kiswahili teachers, adding that Tanzanians are the best speakers of the language and there is no reason for them to miss out on the opportunity. EAC is the regional intergovernmental organisation of the Republics of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, the United Republic of Tanzania, and the Republic of Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

The Treaty for Establishment of the East African Community was signed on 30 November 1999 and entered into force on 7 July 2000 following its ratification by the original three Partner States - Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The Republic of Rwanda and the Republic of Burundi acceded to the EAC Treaty on 18 June 2007 and became full Members of the Community with effect from 1 July 2007.

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