@TheEastAfrican

The East African Community isn’t working? No, actually it is

5 days ago, 07:41

By: Charles Onyango-o ...

The East African Community is still in good shape, though more and more East Africans don’t think so.

The part of the EAC that works is not the glamorous side. It is not easy to see, but is felt. Speaking in Kampala Wednesday during his State of the Nation address, President Yoweri Museveni illustrated this, saying Uganda produces five million bags of maize but we only eat a million bags. If it weren’t for the EAC market, he said, those bags would have gone to waste.

However, while the EAC as a Community is generally well, the same cannot be said of its Secretariat in Arusha.

Recently, I had a strange moment when a very East African chap who travels around the region quite a bit, asked “Is the EAC Secretariat still there in Arusha?”

On Monday, when the EAC budget was presented to the East African Legislative Assembly (sitting in Nairobi), the Secretariat had $10 million of its budget from last year cut back, among other reasons because of deadbeat partner states. Troubled Burundi and South Sudan, have become what someone called “hopeless defaulters.”

However, while the EAC as structured is too dependent on State Houses to work, there are some bureaucratic and housekeeping initiatives that the Secretariat can do for the integration projection that it isn’t doing.

Uganda’s Minister for East African Affairs Kirunda Kivejinja hinted at this when he urged the Secretariat to spend the little money that comes through on “integration pillars” instead of “meetings and air tickets… not geared to the activities to strengthen integration.”

The EAC Secretariat hardly does any “constituency building” work, yet it can afford $12,000 – small money, true – to do it.

It could create an annual prize of say $1,000 to be awarded to 12 innovators from the EAC, two from each country. Give a prize to a young person from each partner who has developed an idea in agriculture, and another who has come up with a mobile phone app that does something regional – in travel and tourism, health, retailing, whatever.

It will be surprised at the results, if it does it well. For many of these young people, $1,000 is a lot of money. They can actually do a lot with just $500.

These “small things” would make a big difference in building support for the Community, creating a base that, in the long-term, would have a vested interest in a well-funded Secretariat, because it put food in their mouths.

As it is now, it seems reasonable to ask whether EAC would suffer without a Secretariat in Arusha. There are many things it does, like organising summits, that can be contracted out to event management companies.

Indeed, for virtually everything else, there are private companies and NGOs that can be paid to do the work. The EAC’s 2018/19 budget is $99.7 million. All the above can probably be done for about 60 per cent of that sum.

And while we are at it, member countries that don’t pay anything at all into the EAC, should be kicked ...
Read More


Category: topnews news oped opinion

Suggested

3 hours ago, 01:58
@TheStar - By: Gideon Keter
Ministry of Health lost Sh7 billion

The Ministry of Health is on the spot once again after it emerged yesterday that Sh7 billion might have been lost in the procurement of CT scanners.The National Assembly Public Accounts Committee was ...

Category: topnews news
5 hours ago, 00:23
@DailyNation - By: Ibrahim Oruko Sa ...
Graft war is a witch-hunt, MPs say

Legislators claim crackdown is targeting individuals while protecting criminals. ...

Category: topnews news politics
20 minutes
@DailyNation - By: Afp
Loew defiant as Germany face World Cup crisis

The Germans must beat Sweden in Sochi on Saturday to get their campaign back on track. ...

Category: topnews news sports
5 hours ago, 00:10
@StandardMedia - By: Patrick Beja And R ...
Raila rejects bid to punish pro-Ruto ODM MPs

ODM leader Raila Odinga has rejected a push by some MPs to punish party rebels campaigning for Deputy President William Ruto. ...

Category: topnews news
5 hours ago, 00:23
@DailyNation - By: Mohamed Ahmed
ODM reaffirms its backing for renewed fight against corruption

Party urges State to involve external agencies in the war against corruption. ...

Category: topnews news politics
5 hours ago, 00:23
@DailyNation - By: Kitavi Mutua
How Kitui mineral wealth can drive Uhuru's Big Four

County is endowed with deposits of coal, limestone, iron ore among other minerals. ...

Category: topnews news counties

@TheEastAfrican

The East African Community isn’t working? No, actually it is

5 days ago, 07:41

By: Charles Onyango-o ...

The East African Community is still in good shape, though more and more East Africans don’t think so.

The part of the EAC that works is not the glamorous side. It is not easy to see, but is felt. Speaking in Kampala Wednesday during his State of the Nation address, President Yoweri Museveni illustrated this, saying Uganda produces five million bags of maize but we only eat a million bags. If it weren’t for the EAC market, he said, those bags would have gone to waste.

However, while the EAC as a Community is generally well, the same cannot be said of its Secretariat in Arusha.

Recently, I had a strange moment when a very East African chap who travels around the region quite a bit, asked “Is the EAC Secretariat still there in Arusha?”

On Monday, when the EAC budget was presented to the East African Legislative Assembly (sitting in Nairobi), the Secretariat had $10 million of its budget from last year cut back, among other reasons because of deadbeat partner states. Troubled Burundi and South Sudan, have become what someone called “hopeless defaulters.”

However, while the EAC as structured is too dependent on State Houses to work, there are some bureaucratic and housekeeping initiatives that the Secretariat can do for the integration projection that it isn’t doing.

Uganda’s Minister for East African Affairs Kirunda Kivejinja hinted at this when he urged the Secretariat to spend the little money that comes through on “integration pillars” instead of “meetings and air tickets… not geared to the activities to strengthen integration.”

The EAC Secretariat hardly does any “constituency building” work, yet it can afford $12,000 – small money, true – to do it.

It could create an annual prize of say $1,000 to be awarded to 12 innovators from the EAC, two from each country. Give a prize to a young person from each partner who has developed an idea in agriculture, and another who has come up with a mobile phone app that does something regional – in travel and tourism, health, retailing, whatever.

It will be surprised at the results, if it does it well. For many of these young people, $1,000 is a lot of money. They can actually do a lot with just $500.

These “small things” would make a big difference in building support for the Community, creating a base that, in the long-term, would have a vested interest in a well-funded Secretariat, because it put food in their mouths.

As it is now, it seems reasonable to ask whether EAC would suffer without a Secretariat in Arusha. There are many things it does, like organising summits, that can be contracted out to event management companies.

Indeed, for virtually everything else, there are private companies and NGOs that can be paid to do the work. The EAC’s 2018/19 budget is $99.7 million. All the above can probably be done for about 60 per cent of that sum.

And while we are at it, member countries that don’t pay anything at all into the EAC, should be kicked ...
Read More

Category: topnews news oped opinion

Suggested

3 hours ago, 01:58
@TheStar - By: Gideon Keter
Ministry of Health lost Sh7 billion

The Ministry of Health is on the spot once again after it emerged yesterday that Sh7 billion might have been lost in the procurement of CT scanners.The National Assembly Public Accounts Committee was ...

Category: topnews news
5 hours ago, 00:23
@DailyNation - By: Ibrahim Oruko Sa ...
Graft war is a witch-hunt, MPs say

Legislators claim crackdown is targeting individuals while protecting criminals. ...

Category: topnews news politics
20 minutes
@DailyNation - By: Afp
Loew defiant as Germany face World Cup crisis

The Germans must beat Sweden in Sochi on Saturday to get their campaign back on track. ...

Category: topnews news sports
5 hours ago, 00:10
@StandardMedia - By: Patrick Beja And R ...
Raila rejects bid to punish pro-Ruto ODM MPs

ODM leader Raila Odinga has rejected a push by some MPs to punish party rebels campaigning for Deputy President William Ruto. ...

Category: topnews news
5 hours ago, 00:23
@DailyNation - By: Mohamed Ahmed
ODM reaffirms its backing for renewed fight against corruption

Party urges State to involve external agencies in the war against corruption. ...

Category: topnews news politics
5 hours ago, 00:23
@DailyNation - By: Kitavi Mutua
How Kitui mineral wealth can drive Uhuru's Big Four

County is endowed with deposits of coal, limestone, iron ore among other minerals. ...

Category: topnews news counties
Our App