NAIROBI (Xinhua) — Kenya on Monday launched countrywide public education process to sensitize its citizens on the process of the integration in the East Africa Community (EAC) in order to prepare them to take emerging opportunities in the expanded market.
“Soon after the promulgation of the new Constitution we embarked on series of consultative meetings that eventually led to the decision that we need to take swift action in eliminating ignorance among Kenyans about the EAC,” said Prof. Hellen Sambili, the Minister for East Africa Community when he launched the civic education in Mombasa on Monday.
The public education is being done under the Rapid Result Initiative, a leadership and service delivery model adopted by the Kenya government to deliver results and accelerate reforms within 100 days period.
The intention is to create awareness among Kenyans about the EAC integration, the opportunities, benefits and challenges.
The project will also culminate in the establishment of two Regional Integration Centers at the border towns of Namanga and Busia to improve coordination of EAC affairs.
The public education campaign will include drafting of laws necessary for integration and assessing how those laws are aligned to Kenya ’s new constitution and will also focus on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the Ministry for EAC in order to improve service delivery to the people.
The public education campaign is expected to cover 24 counties and a total of 107 constituencies in the first phase with the rest to be covered in the second and final phase.
“This public education campaign is important because, despite earlier sensitization efforts, it has become apparent that, there is still widespread ignorance among Kenyans and East Africans about EAC integration process,” said the minister.
“Many still do not understand the stages of integration what each stage entails. And as a result, there is no full appreciation of the opportunities, benefits, challenges, and their rights and obligations.”
She said because Kenya’s new Constitution emphasizes on people’ s rights and quality service delivery by government and that the EAC Common Market Protocol emphasizes the need to deliver service to the public efficiently, there is therefore greater need to inform the public on the integration process.
The awareness and sensitization program comes after the launch of Trademark East Africa which will provide support to infrastructure and border management that seeks to cut the cost of doing business in the region by 40 per cent.
The project, involves significant investments in trade facilitation such as the automation of ports, weighbridges, customs departments and other agencies that manage the region’s key transport corridors and border points, so as to increase efficiency of transactions and reduce the cost of doing business.
The public awareness campaigns are being done in all five of the EAC member countries based on the earlier agreement by the Heads of State and Governments.
“They directed that the Community must give priority to education, information and communications through deliberate and targeted sensitization and awareness campaigns,” said the minister.
Source – Coastweek – by David Musyoka