East African Community (EAC) member states should adapt a common policy on recognition of professionals to facilitate the movement of labour and reduce the cost of doing trade in the region, the East African Business Council (EABC) has said.
According to Andrew Luzze, the EABC executive director, the bloc needs to harmonise registration procedures of professionals to promote easy movement of services and foster innovation, competition, enhance services delivery as well as reduce the cost of doing business in the region.
"It is through such mutual recognition agreements that movement of services, labour and goods will be improved as per common market protocol targets," Luzze said during a two-day training workshop on mutual recognition agreements of professional services in Kigali on Tuesday. "This will also ease resource mobilisation and create more chances for business joint ventures across the region and hence create jobs and increase people's incomes."
The training brought together architects from Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. It was supported by the International Trade Centre, a subsidiary organisation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade.
Hook Alison, a consultant at Hook International, a global market consulting firm, said improving mobility of professionals across the EAC will promote skills transfer and enhance services delivery.
"The overall objective is to encourage, facilitate and establish common qualification guidelines for professionals, including architects, and set up standards of education practice and commitments to knowledge transfer among EAC partner states," Alison said.
Patrick Rukundo, the acting registrar at the Institute of Rwanda Architects, said it is important to reduce bureaucracy in the registration of professionals in East Africa to encourage seamless flow of skills and expertise across the region.
Fiona Uwera, the EABC technical liaison officer for Rwanda, said the government through Ministry of East African Community Affairs is working to ensure that all the barriers that impact on the free movement of labour and trade are eliminated.
"We understand the economic and social benefits free movement of labour, goods and services will bring to the economy. It's vital to improve processes so that skilled people can move across the region with ease and be able to tap into the opportunities embedded in the protocol," Uwera.