NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13 – The East African Community (EAC) is mulling over ways to align the long term development blueprints of its five member states to enable it achieve its common goal of deeper regional integration.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of East African Community David Nalo said on Friday that since the countries have agreed to work together, there is a need to have one vision that guides them towards transforming East Africa into an industrialised region with greater economic development and improved livelihoods for the citizenry.
“Visions are like dreams (which outline) where a country would like to be over a period of time and therefore, we need to have a shared vision; a regional vision for entrenching national priorities but in a manner that fulfils the regional vision,” he said.
Kenya has already started implementing its flagship projects outlined in its Medium Term Plan of its Vision 2030 which aims to transform the country into an industrialised, middle-income state, while Uganda’s Vision 2035, which was revised from the old Vision 2025 document, aims to transform it into a prosperous nation.
Tanzania’s blueprint also aims to eliminate poverty before 2025 while Rwanda’s strategy aspires to guide the country into a middle economy state with credible and efficient governance structures in the next 10 years.
Despite these countries being at different stages of their implementation, the PS argued that it would not be difficult to chart one common document since most of the projects in the region such as infrastructure development are undertaken jointly.
“There are similarities in all these visions. What is important is to bring them together and align most of these major areas of consensus to inform the development programs,” the PS emphasised.
Guided by the East African Community Treaty, the region aims to become a political federation and it’s already working towards building the social and economic pillars, one of which involves the protocol which guarantees the free movement of people, capital, goods and services.
Since implementation of the East African common market protocol in July, Mr Nalo said the bloc is increasingly receiving a lot of attention from investors, thus the need to have a regional policy that will expand the investment space.
The PS spoke during a consultative meeting that brought together stakeholders from the EAC partner states to discuss the priority projects and programmes that should be adopted in the next five years to drive the integration process.
The process is guided by five-year development strategies with the fourth one expected to come into force next year.
The stakeholders have until the end of August to come up with a draft that will outline how the region intends to achieve its goals in the next five years. Views on the document will then be sought from the grass root level as a demonstration of the EAC Secretariat’s commitment to make all its processes transparent and participatory.