Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Abdirahin Abdi has reiterated the need for the region to fully embrace the Common Market Protocol to enable the citizens of the region reap its benefits.
The Speaker made the call here yesterday when speaking to European Union (EU) Ambassador and Head of Delegation to Tanzania and the East African Community Filberto Ceriani Sebregondi.
Abdi said integration was an all inclusive process that called for the stakeholders’ participation.
He called on the partner states to build confidence in the integration process and to create avenues and a conducive environment for the regions' citizens to look for opportunities.
“All of us, be us politicians, technocrats, media or businesspeople should contribute to building the economic bloc and enable citizens to move freely to look for opportunities across the region,” the Speaker said.
He presented to Ambassador Sebregondi an overview of the activities of EALA since its inception, noting that EALA had enacted over 40 pieces of legislation and that the Assembly was keen to ensure all pending Bills were passed prior to the end of its tenure in June, this year.
Abdi remarked that besides legislation, the Assembly was also mandated to consider annual reports of the activities of the Community, approve its budget, undertake oversight of the activities of the Community as well as a representative role.
The Speaker said the Assembly intended to devise a monitoring mechanism to assess the level of compliance by the Community with the decisions passed by the Council of Ministers. This aspect, the Speaker remarked, was vital in order to keep abreast the progress of the economic bloc.
For his part, Ambasador Sebregondi affirmed the EU’s support for the EAC, noting that the region had realized various successes.
He said the EU had continued to support EAC through the Regional Integration Support Programme (RISP) initiative and was keenly following up on the economic bloc’s progress.
Sebrogondi pledged to consult more regularly with the Assembly in future so as to strengthen the collaboration.
Ambassador Sebregondi, who was appointed head of the EU Delegation to Tanzania in December 2011, presented his letters of credence to President Jakaya Kikwete on January 10, this year.
His mandate covers overall representation of the EU and leading member states on EU matters, political dialogue with Tanzania and EAC authorities, management of development assistance, trade relations and public diplomacy with the host country.
He previously served in Brussels, Belgium, as EU’s head of division in the Africa Department of the European External Action Service and was responsible for political, economic and development relations with 16 West African countries. He has also served as head of delegation for the EU in Ghana, with additional regional responsibility in Togo.