Local engineers to get regional operating licence

Rwandan engineers are set to extend their operational area beyond the national borders and tap into the regional market after signing a regional pact facilitating them to operate across the East African Community (EAC).
An engineer operates machinery in a factory in Kigali recently. Local engineers can now spread their expertise across the region after a treaty was amended to absorb Rwanda and Burundi....
An engineer operates machinery in a factory in Kigali recently. Local engineers can now spread their expertise across the region after a treaty was amended to absorb Rwanda and Burundi....

Rwandan engineers are set to extend their operational area beyond the national borders and tap into the regional market after signing a regional pact facilitating them to operate across the East African Community (EAC).

This will be streamlined as the local engineers become party to the mutual recognition agreement that facilitates free movement of professional engineers in all partner states of the East African Community.

Dismas Nkubana, the president of Engineers’ Council, said they intend to have a consultative meeting with all stakeholders to evaluate themselves before signing the agreement in few weeks time.

“We are going to meet the new infrastructure minister next week and we are optimistic that before the month ends, we shall have the consultative meeting and then we sign the agreement,” he said.

The meeting, he said, will help them understand the competence of the local engineers based on courses taught in different institutions of higher learning.

Change in fortune

Recently, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya signed an agreement that left out Rwanda and Burundi due to what was termed as “lack of professional conformity” in the two countries.

However, since then, local engineers have gone ahead to formulate a council and board, which are prerequisite for signing the pact that will see local engineers benefiting from regional integration.

This is seen as a tool to facilitate economic integration, increase availability of greater consumer choice of engineering services, increase opportunities for mutual learning and sharing regulatory experience.

Article 11 of the protocol establishing the East Africa Common Market stipulates that for the purpose of ensuring free movement of labour, the partner states undertake to mutually recognise the academic and professional qualifications granted, experience obtained, requirements licenses or certifications granted in other partner states.

Vivien Munyaburanga, the head of the Department of Civil Engineering at the National University of Rwanda, said the agreement was urgently needed.

He said it would be embarrassing for professionals from other countries to practice freely across the region, yet Rwandans do not.

“I have previously practiced in Uganda Tanzania and Burundi and whenever I go there, I am treated as a foreigner. We badly need this agreement,” he said.

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