Posted by: africanpressorganization | 22 June 2011

EAC plans project to empower border communities




EAC plans project to empower border communities



ARUSHA, Tanzania, June 22, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A two-day meeting to formulate a project intended to support development of local markets across borders opened today in Kigali, Rwanda. The project entitled Empowering Border Communities through Modernization of Shared Markets is spearheaded by the EAC in collaboration with the Africa Trade Policy Center/UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).


The proposed project is a strategy for implementing the EAC Gender and Community Development Framework and the Social Development Agenda with a planned focus on capacity building to enable border communities take advantage of opportunities in the EAC Common Market. The project will also spearhead the development of border markets.


The Permanent Secretary in Rwanda’s Ministry of EAC Affairs, Mr Robert Ssali said in a statement to open the Experts’ meeting that the project would contribute to Partner States efforts in addressing poverty and the complex relationships between poverty and gender, youth and unemployment. Ms Angelique Dusenge from Rwanda’s Ministry of EAC read the statement on behalf of the Permanent Secretary.


The Regional Advisor of the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), Dr. Amal Nagah Elbeshbishi expressed the ATPC’s readiness to collaborate with EAC in capacity building, noting that there is a need to ensure adequate human capacity “to effectively and efficiently carry out the implementation strategies to empower border communities in general and women specifically.”


The proposed project will bring together various actors drawn from the Ministries responsible for Infrastructure, Gender and Women in Development, Local Government and Community Development as well as Immigration, to address issues related to easing border crossings for border communities and modernizing the local markets including improving basic infrastructures such as access roads, water and sanitation, local bridges, small dams, to create an enabling environment for increased employment opportunities and productivity for border Communities to ensure improved livelihoods and sustainable gender responsive development.


The Experts attending the meeting will undertake field visits to various border posts as part of preliminary work to identify local shared markets across the borders where the project will be implemented. The field visits will also involve discussions with border communities on various aspects of the proposed project.


Additional information


Article 120 of the EAC Treaty spells out the areas of focus for community development in relation to social welfare. These include poverty alleviation programmes, eradication of adult illiteracy in the Community, and the development and adoption of a common approach towards the disadvantaged and marginalized groups.


Therefore, the Social Development Agenda which is being spearheaded by the Community aims at alleviating poverty at the regional level and at the same time complements economic development efforts by Partner States to improve the living standards of their nationals.


It is in this context that one of the key priority areas of the EAC Gender and Community Development Framework is to “enhance infrastructure at community level with focus on those that will enhance community development such as community access roads, community centers, rural training centers, water and sanitation and health centers”.


This is in line with the mission of the framework which is “To enhance community empowerment through people centred and gender responsive development that creates opportunities to harness potentials necessary for equitable and sustainable development.”


While the East African Community is currently implementing the Common Market which represents a deeper state of cooperation by the Partner States, there is a need to empower communities in light of the opportunities offered by this second stage of integration.



East African Community (EAC)


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