SPEAKER of the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) Martin Ngoga has asked Research on Poverty Alleviation (Repoa) to conduct research that will focus on strengthening the East African Community (EAC).
"I urge Repoa to research on how we can have a stronger EAC which is not shaken by trivial challenges. For this to be realised, we need our experts to tell us what we are supposed to do to have a resilient community that will reach its goals," he said during his visit to Repoa recently.
He noted that Repoa was in a better position to ensure major goals set by EAC were realised for the betterment of the region.
"As among EAC leaders, I am proud of Repoa's existence as it has the ability to conduct research using our own experts for the good of East African nationals," he explained.
"Research on challenges faced within EAC is supposed to be conducted by experts originating from the EAC region, as it will more likely get accurate solutions. Using experts from elsewhere won't solve our problems."
Mr Ngoga also urged Repoa partner with other research institutions among member states as they faced similar challenges and by doing so it would have an overview of the EAC bloc rather than individual countries.
"Our aim is to have a regional perspective and build capacity as a region. We should shift from looking at individual countries and start looking at solutions as one community because our vision, goals and challenges facing our people are similar," he noted.
He emphasised not to focus on political aspects alone, but also on intellectuals, the private sector and businesspeople within the region as they are among important sectors that will ensure the EAC region was developing.
"The community that we are building now is people-centred and private sector driven, which will involve our own capable intellectuals, who will give us proper directions on how to have a stronger community that achieves its goals," he said.
Mr Ngoga further noted that Eala together with national assemblies of the EAC member states had agreed and planned to start East African Parliamentary Institute.
The institute aims at giving short-term courses for parliament employees, Members of Parliament (MPs) themselves and other stakeholders within the member states.
"The move is an initiative of all EAC member state parliaments, where the think tank will be assisting in developing all training modules and other preparations needed to be done for the institute to start operating," he explained.
He noted that the institute would have its temporary headquarters in Nairobi. "However, the country to host the permanent headquarters will be known in the future."
According to him, Repoa should also go a step further and analyse how much of the work they give out is implemented and its impact on societies and contribution to address challenges facing member states.
For his part, Repoa Executive Director, Dr Donald Mmari, said the think tank has had a great opportunity to work with Eala and was given the responsibility to give solutions to problems to strengthen relationship between the member states.