Wednesday, 23 September 2009

EAC to spend Sh 1.3bn for birthday bash

Dear Wana Afrika Mashariki,
Is this all we need? Suppose the sum was to pay for some scholarship, how many could benefit from amang the poor East African children?
Please air out your views by commenting to this posting.

EAC to spend Sh 1.3bn for birthday bash

By Zephania Ubwani, Arusha

The East African Community (EAC) will spend $1 million (Sh1.3 billion) on a range of activities, including exhibitions, symposia and a lavish party to mark its 10th anniversary in November this year.

Key among them will be the signing of the long-awaited establishment of the EAC Common Market Protocol and laying the foundation stone for the new Euros 14million headquarter building here.

EAC Secretary general Juma Mwapachu said East Africans from all walks of life, regional and foreign dignitaries, delegates of the African regional economic communities (RECs) and international organisations are expected to attend EAC�s 10th anniversary.

The EAC was revived on November 30th, 1999 when the Treaty for its Establishment was signed by founder members; Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. The bloc's membership was in 2007 extended to Burundi and Rwanda.

Mr Mwapachu told reporters that other activities to mark the event would include a �Jua Kali� exhibition, a symposium on EAC destiny in which top scholars from the region will be invited, traditional ngomas, sports events, students� competition and a big party at a tourist lodge.

"Most of the activities will take place in Arusha and we expect to spend about one million dollars," he said, adding that the anniversary was a joint undertaking of all the EAC organs and institutions and the partner states� ministries of EAC Affairs.

However, he added that the anniversary would involve wide participation by East Africans "from the towns and cities to the villages in the farthest corners of the region."

The EAC region's civil society, professional associations, business community, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community-based organisations (CBOs) are expected to take the lead in the 10th anniversary celebrations.

�The observance is being held to showcase EAC achievements. It will also serve to renew commitment to regional integration and rededicate efforts to the next decade 2010-2020,� he said.

The celebrations will start on November 12 with radio and TV programmes, talk shows, essay competitions for schools, seminars and symposia, cultural and music performance and Jua Kali/ Nguvu Kali exhibitions in Arusha and reach climax on November 20th.

Top scholars from the region will be invited for the symposia. They will include professors Ali Mazrui (Kenya), Issa Shivji (Tanzania), Wadada Nabudere (Uganda), Saidi Kabeya (distinguished scientist from Burundi) and Prof Silas Lwakabamba from Rwanda, among others.

Mr Mwapachu admitted that although the regional body has encountered several problems, some notable achievements have been made, such as increased investments from outside, especially after the launching of the Customs Union in 2005.

Both intra-EAC trade and total EAC trade with the rest of the world have maintained overall annual growths of between 25 to 30 per cent. EAC is expected to become a single market next year.

The EAC boss noted that the main emphasis during the next decade will be on development of regional infrastructure and promotion of investments and trade as the prerequisites for deeper economic integration.

Priority will be given to modernisation of the largely dilapidated railway system, road network, efficient communications and reliable power supply.

"This will stimulate industrial and agricultural development, create employment and generate wealth to take the region to its rightful place among the fast modernising economies of the world," he pointed out.

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