The Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community (EAC) was signed on 30 November 1999 and came into force on 7 July 2000. The main objective of the EAC is to develop policies and programmes aimed at widening and deepening co-operation amongst the Partner States in mainly political and economic, social and cultural fields, research and technology, defense, security, legal and judicial affairs, for the mutual benefit of all partners.
Article 127 (4) of the Treaty stipulates that the “Secretary General shall provide the forum for consultations between the Private Sector, Civil Society organisations, other interest groups and appropriate institutions of the Community.” Article 129 (2) requests the Council to “establish modalities that would enable the business organisations or associations, professional bodies and the Civil Society in the Partner States to contribute effectively to the development of the Community.”
In order to implement Article 127, the EAC Secretariat, with the support of GIZ, have developed a Consultative Dialogue Framework (CDF), where key representatives from the Partner States, key actors from private sector and civil society organisations have agreed on a comprehensive framework and structure for dialogue.
Consequently, the CDF for the private sector, civil societies and other interest groups within the EAC integration process was adopted by the 26th Meeting of the Council of Ministers held in Nairobi, Kenya on 26th November 2012 (EAC/CM26/DECISION 06).
Consultative Dialogue Framework
The adopted Consultative Dialogue Framework (CDF) is a structured guide aimed at ensuring consultative participation and inclusiveness of the Private Sector, Civil Society Organisations and other interest groups towards realising the community objectives and promoting a people-centred integration process (see diagram above).
The 1st EAC Secretary General’s Forum (SG Forum) on 10 and 11 December 2012 was aimed at implementing the Consultative Dialogue Framework. Its thematic focus was the Common Market as one of the four pillars of the EAC integration. The 2nd SG Forum was held on 7 and 8 October 2013 under the theme ‘The EAC We Want’.
GIZ focuses on the implementation of the Consultative Dialogue Framework in order to ensure effective participation of the private sector, civil society and other interest groups.
GIZ supports the implementation of the Consultative Dialogue Framework on a three-level approach:
- Development of the annual EAC SG Forum and set-up of a regional dialogue committee comprised of representatives from the EAC Secretariat, the East African Business Council (EABC), the East African Civil Society Organisations Forum (EACSOF) and the Ministries in Charge of EAC Affairs (MEACAs) in the Partner States in order to monitor the implementation of SG Forum recommendations.
- Development of CSO and PSO platforms advocating at the regional level on behalf of national organisations and dealing with various thematic areas which enhance collaboration between Civil Society and the Private Sector.
- Development of an effective communication strategy to ensure the Private Sector and Civil Societies are adequately informed and can actively participate in the integration process.
In its effort to implement the EAC CDF, GIZ cooperates closely with Module 3 of the GIZ EAC program and the GIZ AMCOD program as well as other donors, namely Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA), a non-profit organization for the promotion of regional trade and economic integration in East Africa, as well as the Open Society Initiative for East Africa (OSIEA) – see below diagram. Also, the Swedish International Agency (SIDA) will closely collaborate through a support program with EACSOF on civil society enhancing with Module 3 as of mid-2014 onwards.
Improvement of information as confirmed by non state actors
GIZ trained ‘Champions’ from private sector and civil society organisations as well as local government associations to increase awareness of EAC matters at grass root levels, including CSOs, PSOs and EAC Youth Ambassadors. A sensitisation manual and a training guide were developed to support their training. The overall process of creating awareness among the citizens of East Africa focused on a sustainable roll out at country level. EACSOF Rwanda was successful in its sensitisation activities without any further co-funding or technical support from the GIZprogramme. 60 CSOs were trained and will roll out the sensiti-sation campaigns in 30 districts in Rwanda. The success of the Rwanda approach has been documented in a booklet to be shared as a best practice example with the other Partner States and used in EAC sensitisation and awareness campaigns.
Enhanced participation of non state actors
During the 2nd SG Forum, stakeholders confirmed that they shall increasingly take ownership of the integration process through effective participation. During the 1st SG’s Forum, a survey was developed and circulated to the representatives of the PS and CS as part of a baseline study to support the implementation of the CDF at national and regional level. 40% of the participants found their participation in the EAC Integration Process to be effective. At the 2nd SG’s Forum, that number had increased to 54.9%.
With the support of GIZ, the EAC has been actively engaged in sensitisation campaigns and development of skills among the youth, more specifically university students and youth leaders across the region, building their abilities and enabling them to champion sensitisation activities among their peers at Partner State levels.
Students are brought together during the annual EAC University Students Debate in Arusha in 2012 and in Dar-es-Salaam in 2013 on regional integration, during which the best debaters are appointed Ambassadors to lead their respective Partner State teams in conducting peer-to-peer training and sensitisation of EAC issues.
Twenty-five champions were trained during a Training of Trainers (TOT) workshop on sensitisation and communication in 2012, and a further twenty-five during a similar training in 2013. These Champions were equipped with a sensitisation manual and a training guide as support for structuring their training at university level.
The overall process of awareness creation among the youth was informed by the fact that they constitute the largest segment of the population in the EAC region, making them a critical section of society in moving the EAC integration agenda forward. Over the past year, the EAC Youth Ambassadors have carried out sensitisation activities without any further funding from the GIZ programme.
The Kenyan ambassadorial team has held several sensitisation forums in various universities across the country, and most recently reached out to over 800 students and youth leaders during an EAC information awareness week. The peer-to-peer sensitisation has been a great success, and for this reason it was agreed that these activities should be well planned, organised and coordinated, in order to raise awareness among the youth, of the EAC’s activities.