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East African Community / Common standards critical in regional integration, says Hon. Kiraso

By East African Community (EAC)
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ARUSHA, Tanzania, November 21, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Political Federation, Hon. Beatrice Kiraso, has called for common standards as the regional political integration deepens and widens.

“The EAC Partner States must make concerted efforts to establish common standards and practices to move harmoniously in the EAC integration process and to achieve the set objectives,” Hon. Kiraso said when addressing the First EAC Political Dialogue in Kampala, Uganda.

She said that common standards would help all parties to move simultaneously as envisaged in the Treaty. Hon. Kiraso also pushed for an EAC peer review mechanism to help Partner States conform to the agreed political, economic and governance values, codes and standards.

“Such a mechanism will foster the adoption of common policies, standards and practices that lead to political stability, high economic growth, sustainable development and accelerated regional integration, including identifying deficiencies and assessing the needs for capacity building,” the Deputy Secretary General added.

On the Political Dialogue, the EAC official said that East Africans have a right to be part of the integration and that the policy makers have an obligation to involve the people of East Africa so that the decisions that are taken at regional level represent their interest and aspirations.

Addressing the same occasion, former Kenyan Minister for Trade and Industry and the lead panelist Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, said that civil society organizations and academia must forge unity of purpose in achieving the EAC regional integration objectives.

“We are under-performing in our noble duty to speed up the regional integration,” he remarked.

The Dialogue was convened to brainstorm, promote and advocate inclusiveness and participation of a wide range of East Africans and to enhance political will towards the EAC's political integration.

Held on the theme: "Enhancing Representation/Inclusiveness in Promoting EAC Integration" this year, the forum is billed to become a regular activity in all Partner States and topics will be based on studies commissioned to research on various topical political integration issues.

Four more studies have recently been commissioned, after the first series of EAC occasional papers were launched in July in Arusha, Tanzania. These include: Participation of Political Parties in East Africa Integration Process; Representation in East African Integration Process and; A Comparative Study on the Structures and Functioning of Federations.

EAC will also hold a round-table discussion with a number of development partners interested in collaborating with the bloc in promoting political integration and good governance. Good governance has been identified as key in laying a firm foundation for political federation.

The two-day Dialogue was attended by representatives of private sector, academia, youth, media, religious organizations and politicians. It was held with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Office.