For EAC to succeed, locals must benefit

October 3, 2015

The people of East African Community must be able to gain real economic and social bene­fits of closer regional integration in order for the EAC to succeed.The EAC is a chance for Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi to transform into a more united region based on the three pillars of the economy, political-security and socio-cultural.However, the governments of member countries should do more to raise awareness among their people on the ongoing changes that would benefit them.For that transformation to take place, it must begin at home, in the countries of EAC they must make it a tangible reality to all our citizens.Despite the masterplans in place, they are not enough to create a greater sense of belonging to EAC among the people in the region.A people-centred EAC must mean a region where the people feel that they were not only part of it but that they collectively make up EAC.

Kenya is a founder member of East African Community. Above is Nairobi's Skyline:Picture Jason Roberts
Kenya is a founder member of East African Community. Above is Nairobi’s Skyline:Picture Jason Roberts

To achieve this, EAC countries need to develop closer ties with each other in the travel sector, deepen business and economic integration.EAC should also take advantage of its youthful, talented and increasingly skilled population of over 140 million people.Several economic reports which were upbeat about EAC’s prospects,inclu­ding one by the Barclays Banking Group published in September this year.The report noted how EAC’s potential was greater than is commonly understood, an observation which I agree with.EAC should be confident about its future, and should be vocal about overall confidence.One of the main priorities set by EAC was to enhance region’s role as a global player, and with greater unity there was no reason why EAC should not play a more active role in international events. There are many issues today, such as climate change, transnational crime, the threat of violent extremism as happening in Somalia, migration and overlapping territorial like Migingo Island claims that cannot be resolved by individual nations alone.

Contador Harrison