As the highest organs of the East African Community (EAC) continue to explore ways to take the integration process to the next level, it is a good starting point that countries are increasingly working together in various aspects.
Last week, a visit by the Uganda Prisons Service (UPS) officials concluded with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between them and Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS) to facilitate the sharing of best practices and experiences.
Similarly, the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) and their Burundian counterparts have launched a one-stop border post that will serve to expedite business across the border, thus making it convenient for traders and other travellers.
Such partnerships will help strengthen and deepen the mutual cooperation among regional states. More broadly, if such cross-border institutional partnerships were to be replicated across the EAC region, the resultant bonds would contribute greatly towards advancing the integration cause.
Integration is about improving the livelihoods of the peoples of the partner states, and, therefore, initiatives aimed at removing or at least diminishing whatever barriers created by physical borders, would bode well with and strengthen the integration spirit.
If more institutions in individual member states continue to take advantage of the political will to transcend national borders and work together for the benefit of the people, the ultimate integration will eventually be founded on solid pillars. It’s a kind of a bottom-top approach from which everyone stands to gain.
East Africa and Africa, at large, do not need to look beyond themselves to build a safer and prosperous future; they need to create the necessary linkages and platforms to tackle the challenges that countries faces individually.
More and more institutions should be encouraged to reach out to their counterparts in the region.