A recent survey carried out by The New Times showed that some members of the public are still wary of the envisaged East African Community (EAC) Political Federation as well as the Monetary Union.
With the Political Federation initially set for 2013, there are signs that the schedule will have to be extended as even the preceding Monetary Union is yet to be implemented. East African citizens have been closely watching the Eurozone crisis, prompting questions into the region’s plan to have its own single currency.
Indeed, recent developments in other integrated economies have led to calls to slow down the last two EAC integration stages, with fears mounting about the sustainability of a strong and economically vibrant regional community.
There is no doubt that most Rwandans are fully supportive of the spirit and aspirations of the EAC, as indicated during a previous nationwide government-sponsored consultation process. However, it is clear that some citizens are still ignorant of the implications of political federation, which makes them reluctant to embrace it.
While governments are seen to be leading the way in advancing the EAC integration cause, the ordinary citizens ought to fully own the process and commit to the bloc’s future plans.
The drivers and advocates of the integration process will need to step-up the public awareness campaign about the EAC Agenda. The campaign should be carried out alongside demonstration of how previous protocols – the Customs Union and the Common Market – have been of benefit. This will help win public support for the next stages.