The EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, Jesca Eriyo has commended the efforts made by the private sector, civil society and other interest groups to push the integration agenda.
She was speaking at the 2nd EAC Secretary General's forum under the theme, "The EAC we want" which started on October 7th in Nairobi, Kenya.
She also also pointed out that successful regional integration would require solid support by the citizens of the participating states.The forum is attended by about 150 representatives of the governments of EAC partner states, private sector, civil society, academia, members of the East African Legislative Assembly, judges of the East African Court of Justice, members of national parliaments, media and the EAC Secretariat, among others.
Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Phyllis Kandie underscored the importance of holding regular dialogue with private sector ,civil society and other interest groups in order to get their views and expectations on the various stages of regional integration.
Successful integration, Kandie said, presumes solid support by the citizens of the participating partner states. "Such support is based on the availability of full and complete information on all areas of integration. Lack of such information often undermines the good policy intentions," she said while opening the Consultative Forum .
According to Kandie the EAC is now recognized as one of the fastest growing economies in the world due to the strong intra-EAC trade, adding that the bloc was now working on developing legal binding mechanisms.
In his key note remarks, the EAC Secretary General Amb Richard Sezibera challenged the civil society and private sector to strengthen cross-border alliances and networks with like-minded organizations in order to fulfill the collective mission of building a unified and prosperous East Africa.
"Our collective sense of mission should be to work towards a fully integrated East Africa with all East Africans living in harmony with each other, an East Africa whose overriding agenda is the improvement of the living conditions of its people, "Amb. Sezibera told about 150 attentive delegates.
He also noted that there were challenges in building a united East Africa but were being managed through continued political will and the public/private sector support in the region.
The forum aims at increasing the participation of the private sector, civil society and other interest groups in EAC policy formulation and decision-making processes. As a result of such forums, it is expected that citizens of the Community will achieve a higher level of awareness on matters of regional integration and increasingly take ownership of the process.
The theme for the meeting is: "The EAC We Want."
The forum is attended by about 150 representatives of the governments of EAC partner states, private sector, civil society, academia, members of the East African Legislative Assembly, judges of the East African Court of Justice, members of national parliaments, media and the EAC Secretariat, among others.
The first Secretary General's Forum took place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from 11-12 December, 2012.
Other efforts in the region pioneered in collaboration with the EAC Secretariat by the EAC private sector, civil society and other interest groups include national and regional Secretary General's Forums with CEOs, Civil Society Consultative Forums, youth meetings, child's rights conference, conference on good governance, East African Local Government Forum, launch of the Health Platform, and the First EAC Cultural Festival (JAMAFEST) and East African Grain Summits and PACT EAC meetings and many others. Another important meeting was the recent Third Political Dialogue on the role of women leaders in the political integration.
The Dialogue Framework Forum for Private Sector, Civil Society and other interest groups in the EAC integration process was endorsed by the EAC Council of Ministers at its 26th meeting in November 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Forum is guided by the principles of cooperation for mutual cooperation, trust, goodwill, active and constructive participation, inclusivity and respect for diverse views, among others.The meeting is facilitated by support from the German International Development Agency (GIZ), Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA), OSSEA and the EAC Secretariat.