EAC to train public officers on integration By GEORGE OMONDI | Monday, June 25 2012 at 10:38
Kenya is considering training public officers to speed up regional integration and hasten the movement of goods across the East African borders.
The government is turning its focus to the role played by its own officers in the belief that raising awareness will hasten the implementation of regional agreements at departmental levels and hence speed up the remaining stages of economic integration.
“Building a people-driven regional integration with private sector at the driving seat demands that we have in place government officers who are fully sensitised about economic integration,” acting East African Community (EAC) permanent secretary Chiboli Shakaba said.
Government departments have been cited over the last 10 years as the leading cause of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) that have slowed down the growth of trade in the region.
The departments mainly undermine cross-border trade through roadblocks, slow inspection and bureaucracy.
“Ministries in charge of EAC only have a coordination role while those implementing are other agencies whose officers barely understand their role in integration,” said Dr Wanyama Masinde, director of Catholic University’s institute for regional integration and development.
“We have conducted sensitisation campaigns in 49 districts since 2009 but Kenya is still grappling with low awareness level of just about 46 per cent,” EAC ministry’s senior deputy director of social affairs directorate Mwangi Kaheru said.
The campaign comes just months before the region’s heads of state meet in November for the annual summit.
In the 2009 summit, the heads of state directed the EAC secretariat and ministries to sensitise the citizens about the ongoing economic integration.
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