- integration agenda has been launched in Kigali, Rwanda.
The campaign aims at creating opportunities for East African Community (EAC) citizens to express themselves on how they feel after 20 years of the integration and what should be done for it to work better for their lives in the coming years.
Rwanda’s Director General of African Cooperation, Diyana Gitera said the campaign was an important part of EAC’s 20th anniversary activities and that it will increased communication and awareness as it engages the most critical stakeholders—the youth, on an exciting path towards EAC’s integration.
Gitera said: “It is my hope that the campaign will turn out to be a milestone that creates a new momentum to inspire East Africans to embrace and deepen the integration process”.
She cautioned participants on the challenges that will be equally part of the narrative throughout the campaign.
“Our wish is to appreciate the positive impact of the EAC, but also and perhaps more importantly, correct the course wherever necessary,” she said.
She reminded the youth that the short film competition entailed in the campaign was meant to enable them to capture real stories on the EAC while demonstrating how more innovative EAC could be to get to the ‘EAC we want’.
EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Planning and Infrastructure, Eng Steven Mlote, said that in the last 20 years, the community had witnessed commendable growth in trade, infrastructure and better policies. He added that regional social cohesion needs to be improved.
“We need to invest more in people-to-people relations for better and improved integration agenda,” said Eng Mlote.
He said the campaign would offer East Africans the opportunity to voice their concerns and share suggestions on how best EAC can forge forward as a region.
He urged Rwandans and the youth in particular to participate in the discourses and freely share ideas and suggestions with the EAC Secretariat, the EAC Legislative Assembly, Partner States, and the East Africa Court of Justice, and other institutions of the bloc.
“The future belongs to our youth’. Our EAC Vision 2050 requires skills, innovations, manpower and strategy to attain. Putting our youth at the centre of this blueprint brings us a step closer to accomplishing it,” he said.
He disclosed that the campaign would engage the young people in EAC through a Short Film Competition, adding that prize money of US $25,000 was up for grabs by 33 youthful winners in the creative campaign.
EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of the Productive and Social Sectors, Christophe Bazivamo said the campaign provides a platform to hear stories from every East African on the impact the EAC has made to his or her life and the future direction the citizens want the region to take.
Bazivamo informed that EAC through various policy initiatives has achieved commendable results during the past 20 years, namely, new infrastructures projects, regional industrialisation policies, healthcare approaches, Common External Tariffs and Common Higher Education Area, among others.
So far, the campaign has been successfully launched in Nairobi, Kampala and Bujumbura. South Sudan and Tanzania are next on the line.