The Deputy Secretary General (Political Federation) of the East African Community (EAC) Beatrice Kiraso, has said that corruption still plays a big role in making the region less attractive to investors.
Kiraso was speaking recently during a sensitization workshop with students of Kampala International University (KIU).
“If you want to look for our countries on the index, you start from the top. This kind of thing is not making our region attractive,” she said.
She underscored the role of regional integration, adding that Africa has less negotiating capacity in the international arena because of lack of integration.
“Regional integration is a necessity and not a need. We either integrate or perish,” she added, attracting applause from the students.
On the region’s historic past, Kiraso cited the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, which she said, had there been regional integration nobody would have cared to kill the other on reasons of ethnic background.
“When you go to Rwanda today, the question won’t be whether you are Tutsi or Hutu, but it will be how much money have you brought to invest in the country,” Kiraso said.
In a separate workshop at Makerere University, Uganda’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for EAC Affairs, Eriya Kategeya, said that the five-nation regional bloc is built on a more firm foundation and measures have been put in place to mitigate against its collapse.
“The current Community is people-centred and market-driven; power has been decentralised from the Summit to the Council of Ministers,” Kategaya said.
This approach, he noted, had earned the EAC a lot of goodwill.
“The civil societies, local governments and private sector are involved as key stakeholders and the procedures for withdrawal from the Community are more stringent and rigid,’’ he added.
The workshops are part of a series of sensitisation programmes by the Secretariat aimed at increasing the awareness of university students and staff about the progress of the regional integration process.