Secretary General Hon. Libérat Mfumukeko will convene the 5th Annual Secretary General’s Forum in Bujumbura, Burundi from the 22nd to 23rd June, 2017 under the theme, ’15 Years of the EAC: Towards a Borderless Community’.
The EAC (East African Community) Secretariat with support from GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH) implemented the CDF (Consultative Dialogue Framework) and the RDC (Regional Dialogue Committee) in recognition of the need to deepen involvement of stakeholders from the private sector, civil society and other interest groups in the integration process. The Secretary General’s Forum is a mechanism of this framework for non-state actors to contribute to the integration agenda and ensure that it delivers needs-based results.
Each year, the Secretary General’s Forum deals with a wide range of topics that are at the heart of the integration process in East Africa. This year, the central topic will concern the progress, challenges and future of the implementation of the Common Market Protocol, particularly the free movement of labour and services. Through consultation and dialogue, non-state actors and EAC officials will agree upon concrete policy measures to be implemented by the EAC Secretariat and Partner States. The primary topics that will be discussed this year are as follows:
- The implementation of the free movement of labour and services between the six Partner States of the EAC.
- Sustainable development in relation to improving food security and agricultural value chains, localising the climate change agenda and increasing gender equality.
- The promotion of local production through public procurement, especially in relation to infrastructural projects within the EAC.
- The impacts of ICT in enhancing the free movement of goods and services and impact of media as enablers of stronger citizen participation in the process will be discussed.
Through this consultation, non-state actors will influence policy on these topics through their official recommendations, thus contributing towards inclusive and holistic development within the region.
The official launch of the IIDEA (Incubator for Integration and Development in East Africa) is a key event to take place at the Forum. IIDEA was developed as a joint initiative between the EAC Secretariat, RDC and GIZ in order to demonstrate the tangible benefits of integration to citizens. Through IIDEA, regional integration projects are proposed and implemented by civil society, private sector and interest groups. These projects showcase the real-life experiences of regional integration and bring the process closer to the public.
Eight of IIDEA’s Partners at advanced stages of project implementation will participate in the Secretary General’s Forum. Through the Forum, they will share their experiences, successes, challenges and recommendations with regards to regional integration to EAC policymakers.
The inclusion of private sector, civil society and interest group stakeholders through the consultative framework of the Secretary General’s Forum is key to realizing the goals envisaged in the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community. Through the 5th Annual Secretary General’s Forum, East Africa will take another step towards the vision of one people, one destiny.