The New Times (Kigali)

11 June 2014

Rwanda Engineers Eye Regional Market

Rwandan engineers are ready to sign the regional Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) that will give them leeway to ply their profession in any of the five partner states of the East African Community.

Currently engineers from Rwanda and Burundi cannot practice in Uganda, Tanzania or Kenya after missing out on the singing of the regional agreement in 2012 over lack of professional conformity.

The two countries were supposed to first establish professional conformity assessments and the necessary legal and institutional framework for the engineering profession, before signing the MRA.

"We are ready and willing to sign the mutual recognition agreement," Eng. Dismas Nkubana the chairperson of Rwanda Engineering council (REC) said in interview.

Nkubana was speaking during a regional conference in Kigali to assess whether Rwandan engineers have established the requirements to sign the accord.

Nkubana said they had formed the council and the engineers association (Engineering Institute of Rwanda) that were required, adding that the EAC secretariat should fast-track the process to have rwanda sign the agreement.

Rwanda has over 240 registered engineers according to the REC chairperson.

A survey commissioned by the East African Business Council, following the implementation of MRA, shows that though the number of engineers moving across the region was still low, there was a need for countries to facilitate the movement of professionals.

After the signing of MRA agreement in Arusha Tanzania in December 2012 between Uganda Kenya and Tanzania, nine professionals submitted their applications to work in different countries.

Seven engineers were interested to cross into Tanzania while two Burundians had submitted to practice in Rwanda. However out of nine, only five had been licensed to operate while others were still facing registration bureaucracies especially in Tanzania.

Findings show that it took some professionals six months to be registered in another country while for others, registration was within the two weeks.

"Why should someone sit in Kigali when there are opportunities in Tanzania or Kampala. Some sectors like mining have opportunities across the region," James Okiror the chairperson of the MRA coordination committee in the region said.

Burundi not ready:

Eng. Philbert Nsanzamahoro who represented Burundi said they still needed time to organise themselves.

In terms of the number of engineers, Kenya takes the lead with 7,000 followed by Tanzania, 3,600 while Uganda has 302 licensed engineers.

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