Trade Policy at Work

Uganda to host 3rd EAC Secretary General`s forum

Uganda will host the 3rd East African Community (EAC) Secretary General’s Annual Forum for Private Sector, Civil Society and other interest groups in Entebbe 12-13 September, 2014.

Uganda will host the 3rd East African Community (EAC) Secretary General’s Annual Forum for Private Sector, Civil Society and other interest groups in Entebbe 12-13 September, 2014.

According to a press release availed to the Independent East African News Agency (EANA)this was among the issues deliberated during the three-day preparatory meeting of members of the Regional Dialogue Committee drawn from the Partner States’ Ministries responsible for EAC Affairs, EAC Secretariat, Private Sector, Civil Society Organisations, and other interest groups held in Mwanza, Tanzania over the weekend.

The Dialogue Committee adopted “EAC: My Home, My Business” as the theme of this year’s Forum.

The first EAC-SG Forum was held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in December 2012 and the second in Nairobi, Kenya in October, last year.

The forum aims to provide a platform for regular dialogue between the EAC Secretary General and the Private Sector, Civil Society and other interest groups on how to improve the EAC integration process.

“The objective of the Forum is to allow selected stakeholders and the EAC to consult and work towards realising the Community’s objectives,” Mary Makoffu, EAC Director for Social Sectors, told the delegates in her opening remarks.

Briefing the delegates on behalf of the EAC Deputy Secretary in charge of Productive and Social Sectors Hon Jessica Eriyo, the EAC official said that the East African Business Council (EABC), as agreed in the 2013 Forum, will take the lead role in planning and organizing this year’s Forum in collaboration with the EAC Secretariat.

She appealed for greater support to the planning and execution process from all the stakeholders of the Forum.

In her opening remarks, the Chairperson of the meeting, Ms Agnes Sila from Kenya’s Ministry of East African Community Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, said that the annual SG’s Forum was critically important in deepening regional integration.

“The Forum ensures direct dialogue with the EAC Chief Executive in vigorously pursuing our regional agenda,” she told the experts from the Partner States.

She observed that many important issues were raised during the second Forum and there was need to take steps to move to next level.

Andrew Luzze, EABC Executive Director, assured the meeting that all would be done to ensure that the 3rd Forum would be a big success. “This calls for strengthened collaboration and team work from all stakeholders,” he underscored.

The delegates conducted a sensitization workshop to a crowd of Mwanza fishermen and small traders held at the Tampere Park, in the heart of Mwanza city, highlighting the enormous benefits of the EAC integration and the need to protect and preserve Lake Victoria.

The well-attended event saw the Mwanza participants and delegates engage in constructive and objective dialogue on how to widen and deepen EAC integration. The occasion was spiced up with local traditional dances and other entertainment.

At the close of the workshop, the participants and delegates, led by the EAC Deputy Secretary General in Charge of Political Federation Charles Njoroge, undertook a clean-up exercise of the Park as part of its commitment to engage in community work and be exemplary in maintaining a clean and healthy environment.

The meeting and the community initiative were facilitated by the German International Development Agency (GIZ).

Other efforts in the region pioneered in collaboration with the EAC Secretariat by the EAC Private Sector, Civil Society and other interest groups include national and regional Secretary General’s Forums with CEOs, Civil Society Consultative Forums, Youth Meetings, Child’s Rights Conference, Conference on Good Governance, East African Local Governments Forum, launch of the East African Health Platform, the First EAC Cultural Festival (JAMAFEST), and East African Grain Summits and PACT EAC meetings and many others. Another important meeting was the recent 3rd Political Dialogue on the role of Women Leaders in the political integration.

The Dialogue Framework Forum for Private Sector, Civil Society and other interest groups in the EAC integration process was endorsed by the EAC Council of Ministers at its 26th meeting in November 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Forum is guided by the principles of cooperation for mutual benefit, trust, goodwill, active and constructive participation, inclusivity and respect for diverse views.