New national policy on EAC launched
The Ministry of East African Community (EAC) affairs on Friday unveiled the national policy on the integration process that will enable Rwanda to further her interests in the region.
The new policy focuses on different five key strategic areas including mainstreaming regional integration into Rwanda’s development, engaging EAC institutions, mitigation and safeguard measures that will focus on reducing negative implications of the integration process for Rwanda.
It will also oversee other areas like follow-up on EAC decisions and obligations, and institutional framework that will coordinate, monitor and evaluate the implementation of EAC commitments in Rwanda.
Rwanda becomes the first country to initiate such a strategy among all partners in the region.
EAC minister Monique Mukaruliza explained that the region continues to encounter implementation challenges, observing that it was imperative for such plans to be initiated.
“We have been facing hindrances in implementation of protocols and to address such challenges we needed a coordinating framework to guide us in the process hence coming up with the policy,” she said.
She appealed to all government institutions as well as the private sector to utilize the strategy for the success of Rwanda not only in development but also to benefit the country in the integration process.
According to the strategy in the agricultural sector, the country will focus on value addition for agricultural products to enhance its regional competitiveness and proper positioning on food security.
In other areas of cooperation, the country will identify the strategies for providing Rwanda’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) with access to EAC markets for both goods and services.
On science and technology, the policy will assist Rwandan and regional research institutions and industries as well as facilitate exchange and transfer of technology and improve access to technological and scientific facilities in the region.
Ambassador Bill Kayonga, the permanent secretary in the ministry of EAC pointed out that for the proper utilization of the new policy all districts would be engaged to allow them embed the policy into their programs.
“To realise our intentions of benefiting from the community, we must fully participate on all levels. We are going to engage all the district authorities to ensure that the policy is well embedded in the second EDPRS.”
Mark Priestly, Trade Mark East Africa’s (TMEA) Country Director saidthat due to Rwanda’s landlocked status there is need to focus on implementing and coming up with such policies adding that his organisation would continue providing support to the country.
“TMEA is glad to be in a position to support the Ministry of East African community (MINEAC) in drawing up this policy framework but most importantly in supporting its implementation,” he said.
He further noted that TMEA would channel its support in areas like raising awareness about regional integration and the benefits and opportunities to different stakeholders as well as introducing a monitoring system to improve transparency and compliance both at national and regional level.
TMEA is a multi-donor funded agency that provides support for increased regional trade and economic integration and accelerates the implementation of the East African Community protocols towards regional integration in all East Africa countries.
Contact email: eric.kabeera[at]newtimes.co.rw