Engaging private sector in EAC will enhance regional integration

23Jun 2021
The Guardian
Engaging private sector in EAC will enhance regional integration

​​​​​​​The private sector is the part of the economy, sometimes referred to as the citizen sector, which is owned by private groups, usually as a means of enterprise for profit, rather than being owned by the state.

The private sector employs most of the workforce in some countries. In private sector, activities are guided by the motive to earn money.

A 2013 study by the International Finance Corporation (part of the World Bank Group) identified that 90 per cent of jobs in developing countries are in the private sector.

In free enterprise countries, such as the United States of America, the private sector is wider, and the state places fewer constraints on firms. In countries with more government authority, such as China, the public sector makes up most of the economy.  

States legally regulate the private sector. Businesses operating within a country must comply with the laws in that country.

In some cases, usually involving multinational corporations that can pick and choose their suppliers and locations based on their perception of the regulatory environment, local state regulations have resulted in uneven practices within one company. For example, workers in one country may benefit from strong labour unions, while workers in another country have very weak laws supporting labour unions, even though they work for the same employer. In some cases, industries and individual businesses choose to self-regulate by applying higher standards for dealing with their workers, customers, or the environment than the minimum that is legally required of them.  

There can be negative effects from the private sector. In the early 1980s, the Corrections Corporation of America pioneered the idea of running prisons for a profit. Today, corporate-run prisons hold eight per cent of America's inmates. Since it is from the private sector, their main priority isn't rehabilitation, but profit. This has resulted in many human rights violations across the United States.  

Uganda has reaffirmed its commitment towards the East African Community (EAC) integration and urged the Secretary General to revitalise the Community’s strategies by engaging more with the private sector and other stakeholders to enhance integration.

Uganda’s High Commissioner to Tanzania, Richard Kabonero expressed his country’s commitment recently in Arusha when he paid a courtesy call to the Secretary General of EAC Dr Peter Mathuki. The Secretary General and envoy discussed a wide range of issues geared at moving forward regional integration in East Africa. The Ugandan envoy was emphatic that the EAC was making remarkable and irreversible progress on the integration agenda.

“It is a critical that the EAC Secretariat involves the private sector especially as we move closer to the latter stages of integration,’’ said Amb Kabonero.

The High Commissioner commended the efforts of the EAC’s towards the inclusion of Democratic Republic of Congo into the EAC as Summit directed.“Admitting the DRC to the EAC presents an opportunity to increase trade flows and it may play a key role in promoting stability in the region,” he said.

Amb Kabonero urged the Secretary General to take keen interest in making sure that EAC comes up with a common approach to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic as opposed to the current situation where each country is coming up with its own protocols.

“It is high time EAC partner states find a way to work together against COVID-19,” said the envoy. .Dr Mathuki noted Uganda’s place in history as founder of the Community and her unwavering commitment to the EAC integration process. Dr Mathuki informed the Amb Kabonero on his intention to actively involve all the High Commissioners representing partner states in EAC activities.

“I want to assure you your Excellency that the Secretariat will involve you and other high commissioners representing partner states here in Tanzania on the progress of all EAC projects and progammes that are aimed at promoting integration in the region,” said Dr Mathuki.

 The Secretary General briefed the High Commissioner on the current EAC state of play on various integration matters including his tour to the partner states to see the heads of state.

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