Christophe Bazivamo, the Deputy Secretary General of East African Community in Charge of Production and Social Sector has advised Member States to review some of their domestic laws if they are to fully implement the EAC Common Market protocol.
He said over 100 laws in the six East African Community Partner States national legislation need to be reviewed to conform to the EAC Common Market Protocol.
“Negotiations of Mutual Recognition Agreements for Land Surveyors and Advocates were concluded and are waiting signing by competent authorities. The negotiations of the MRA for Pharmacists have commenced,” said Bazivamo.
EAC member states are Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi Tanzania , South Sudan and Kenya.
To ensure that the Member states trade among themselves without trade barriers , the East African Community adopted the EAC Common Market Protocol that allows free movement of goods and services but its implementation has been facing some challenges thus impending its fully implementation.
Bazivamo said the concerned laws relate to the provisions of the protocol, namely: free movement of goods; free movement of persons; free movement of labour; free movement of capital; free movement of services; right of establishment, and; right of residence need to be harmonized among the member states.
He said although the community has made some progress in terms of promoting the cross-border movement of skilled labour and cited the signing of Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) among various professionals but more is still needed
The DSG said that the main barriers to the free movement of persons in Africa were the mind-sets based on the geographical boundaries drawn by the colonial powers and regulations put in place by countries concerning immigration, customs and other cross-border procedures.
“Sensitisation of people at all levels is therefore necessary at all levels on the need to knock down these national barriers,” he said.
Bazivamo was speaking during a courtesy call by a team from the Inter- Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD ) Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD) which is based in Nairobi, Kenya.
The IGAD led by ICPALD Director, Dr. Solomon Muchina Munyua, was on a two-day benchmarking mission to the EAC Headquarters specifically on the Free Movement of Persons. The Mission also sought to understand the EAC policy position and practice on transboundary pastoralism and cross-border transhumance.
Dr. Munyua disclosed that IGAD was currently working on protocols on Transhumance and the Free Movement of Persons, and thus the need to benchmark with the EAC whose membership and nationalities overlap with those of IGAD.
“The people of Eastern Africa share languages and culture across borders, for instance, the Digo, Maasai, Kuria and Luhya. Integration brings with it fears of the loss of jobs and resources. We are keen to learn from EAC on how it has managed to overcome these barriers,” said Dr. Munyua.
BY SAMUEL NABWIISO