56 per cent of Rwandans yet to understand integration –survey

Fifty-six per cent of Rwandans are yet to understand the significance of regional integration process, preliminary findings of a survey by the Ministry of East African Community Affairs (MINEAC) show.
EAC troupes perform at Uganda’s Independence fete in 2012. File.
EAC troupes perform at Uganda’s Independence fete in 2012. File.

Fifty-six per cent of Rwandans are yet to understand the significance of regional integration process, preliminary findings of a survey by the Ministry of East African Community Affairs (MINEAC) show.

The survey, “Impact assessment of MINEAC implemented communication activities,” was done to establish levels of awareness of integration in the country.

The survey, conducted in May-August, comes after two years of implementation of the ministry’s communication strategy.

The report indicates that 44 per cent of Rwandans know the benefits of regional integration to the country and its impact on economic development.

This was revealed during a two-day training on integration organised by the ministry to further collaboration with the media to report integration issues and enable Rwandans maximise the benefits.

Innocent Safari, the permanent secretary in the ministry, said they would continue working closely with the media to show integration opportunities to Rwandans.

Since 2012, a number of sensitisation sessions have been undertaken by the ministry.

The latest move to deepen understanding of integration among the youth was taken to schools, where the ministry helped set up EAC integration clubs in various schools across the country.

Emanuel Mugisha, director of media in development and professionalism at the Media High Council, challenged the media to embark on specialised reporting on integration issues.

He said the media had a huge task in educating Rwandans on benefits of regional integration.

“Other countries have economically stepped ahead of us. However, for Rwandans to compete favourably they need information and education and it’s the responsibility of the media. We need success stories on the integration,” he said.

Jean Philbert Mwiseneza, a freelance journalist, said there was need for more training of journalists on integration process to build their capacity to educate the public.

According to latest statistics from the central bank, Rwanda’s exports to the East African Community significantly grew in the half of the year.

Exports to the EAC amounted to $97.8 million (about Rwf67 billion) in the first half of 2014, up from $70.7 million (about Rwf48 billion) in the same period last year. This represents a 38.6 per cent increase.

Flavia Salafina, the director of communication in MINEAC, said the ministry will review the communication strategy to strengthen the awareness process based on available data from different areas of cooperation to reach out to all Rwandans.

The final report showing the details is set to be released in few weeks.

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