Support to the EAC integration process
Title: Support to the EAC integration process
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda
Lead executing agency: Secretariat of the East African Community (EAC), Arusha, Tanzania
Overall term: 2016 to 2019
Regional integration is a major development strategy for reducing market fragmentation. All African countries share the aim of continent-wide economic, social and cultural integration by 2028. An important aspect of this is trade liberalisation. This is to be achieved gradually through regional free trade areas, progressing to customs unions, a common market and ultimately monetary union.
The East African Community (EAC) is one of eight Regional Economic Communities recognised by the African Union (AU) as building blocks of the envisaged African Economic Community, and the only one pursuing the ultimate goal of political federation. In the treaty establishing the EAC, the Partner States decided to widen and deepen their economic, political, social and cultural integration. Since 1998, German development cooperation has made substantial contributions to the integration process in East Africa.
The economic and social integration of EAC Partner States has been deepened.
The EAC Secretariat is the programme’s main cooperation partner. Involving key representatives from the private sector and civil society in the East African integration process is an important aspect of the programme. The GFA Consulting Group has been tasked with the ‘socio-economic integration’ element of the programme.
The programme focuses on four areas:
- Mobility of goods, services and labour
The programme develops the capacity of the EAC Secretariat and Partner States to put in place legislation to regulate cross-border trade in services within the EAC. It also supports Partner States in their efforts to adapt their national laws to regional policies. The private sector is systematically involved in these processes. Key issues are mutual recognition of standards and qualifications, tax harmonisation and trade facilitation.
- Macroeconomic convergence
The Protocol of the East African Monetary Union (EAMU) was ratified by the five Partner States in 2015. It lays down criteria for financial and monetary stability as well as a roadmap for the introduction and full operation of monetary union by 2024. The programme provides high-ranking experts and managers from a variety of fields, including the banking and financial sector, with information on the European Union’s experience of closer coordination of financial and monetary policy, and facilitates an exchange of experience.
- Socio-economic integration
- Promotion of the pharmaceutical sector in the EAC: The programme supports the production of high-quality, safe pharmaceutical products by creating favourable investment and trading conditions for the regional pharmaceutical industry. In close cooperation with the EAC Health Department, the focus is on improving political frameworks, market access for local pharmaceutical manufacturers, and local production facilities in line with international standards. To achieve this, the programme works closely with the ‘Establishment of a Regional Quality Infrastructure for the Pharmaceutical Sector’ module of the National Metrology Institute of Germany (PTB).
- Portability of health services: Mobile workers need health services to be covered outside their country of origin. Transferability is therefore an important prerequisite. Solutions are being tested in selected areas in pilot projects involving at least two EAC Partner States.
- Management of the EAC integration process
A variety of key areas have already been identified for more effective management of regional integration. These include monitoring decisions made by the Council of Ministers and the Summit, more active communication that reaches all citizens, and the introduction of an Incubator for Innovation and Development in East Africa (IIDEA).
Reporting on the advantages and successes of EAC integration and on cooperation with the private sector and civil society is an important cross-cutting element of the programme. This helps raise awareness among the population and promotes regional integration in the political arena and in civil society. Key stakeholders are consequently also involved in the integration process, and results are discussed and recognised publicly.
Results achieved so far
With support from the programme, the EAC Secretariat has introduced an East African Monitoring System that it uses regularly to, for example, report on the implementation status of the EAC Common Market Protocol and decisions by the Summit and Council of Ministers. Management processes in selected departments of the Secretariat are now more transparent and effective thanks to a new quality management system. In September 2016, the EAC Secretariat was certified to ISO 9001:2008.
Through media training workshops, East African journalists are increasingly adopting a regional EAC approach to reporting on EAC integration. They are also better able to present socio-economic correlations.
Partner States’ negotiations on free trade in services were resumed thanks in no small part to support from the programme; as a result, further steps towards liberalisation have been taken. EAC countries have signed five agreements thus far on the mutual recognition of standards and qualifications. A strong network of professions and regulatory authorities has been established.
The dialogue mechanism for involving non-governmental actors in EAC’s decision-making processes has proved effective. The institutionalised Secretary General’s Forum takes place regularly and is widely accepted by stakeholders from the private sector and civil society.
Considerable progress has been made towards gender equality, especially in the private sector and civil society. The programme has supported women’s organisations in their efforts to have their interests systematically taken into consideration in the EAC integration process. It has also supported a platform for female entrepreneurs.