Intra state priorities, which are largely a sovereignty factor is to blame for low progress in realization of East Africa’s regional integration.

This observation was a result of several arguments raised during a dialogue organized by the Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) in Kampala on February 22, 2018 atop the 19th ordinary summit for EAC heads of state.

Dr. Isaac Shinyekwa, a Senior Research Fellow with Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) likened the EAC integration to a marriage with shortfalls requiring counsellors to stabilize and ensure its purpose.

Shinyekwa who was a panelist said "we shall get over the EAC marriage (integration), asking Ugandans not to cry and sit, but rather move and act in as far as utilizing the preferential free trade area is concerned.

Although the integration has potential to foster sustainable development through economic partnership agreements, Shinyekwa says member states adopt tariff barriers a sub section of tariff measures, to protect their citizens.

Terming it as an abuse of tariffs, Shinyekwa said such efforts frustrate citizens from benefiting from the integration dividends.

SEATINI feat Isaac Website photo

Besides, intra sate aspirations and development plans have varying timelines. Bad politics, insecurity among member states, media oppression and trade restriction are other key issues jostling EAC integration progress according to many commentators.

Sovereignty Dilemma

Mike Sebalu warned about the principle of sovereignty saying when leaders go back to their states, national interest takes center stage, which sometimes bogs down Arusha resolutions.

The Former East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Uganda legislator questioned the centrality of the people in the EAC integration saying it must be given consideration. He called upon member state citizens to understand, cherish and promote the integration by taking advantage of low hanging fruits such as the EAC passports.

According to Sebalu some EALA representatives do not share results with ministries, departments and agencies from their respective countries thus affecting implementation of EAC resolutions.


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