The ministry has two departments namely;
This department aims at strengthening the participation of Kenya in the implementation of the Customs Union, Common Market, and Monetary Union protocols within the established timelines as well as play the coordination role in laying the foundation for the EAC Political Federation. The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organization of six partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Southern Sudan, Uganda and United Republic of Tanzania, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
The department aims at transforming the Northern corridor into an economic development corridor and making the corridor seamless and efficient in order to allow free flow of trade and services amongst its member states. The Northern Corridor is a multi-modal corridor, consisting of road, rail, pipeline, and inland waterways transport, and is recognized as a significant corridor for logistics in East Africa. The main road network runs from Mombasa Sea Port through Kenya and Uganda to Rwanda and Burundi and to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The road network also links Kenya and Uganda to Juba in South Sudan.
The ministry’s mandate in reference to the EAC is: a) to deepen and widen East African Integration for sustainable development and improved livelihood of all Kenyans with the establishment of a customs union, a common market, a monetary union, and ultimately a political federation; b) to facilitate, coordinate and oversee the development, monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of EAC policies, projects and programmes; c) to promote partnerships and maintain linkages with all stakeholders on EAC matters. Whereas its mandate in reference to the Northern Corridor Development is to increase the efficiency of road transport along the Northern Corridor, to facilitate trade, and regional integration, enhance aviation safety, and security to meet international standards; and, promote private sector participation in the management, financing, and maintenance of road assets.
East African Community: Over the years the EAC has made a number of strides. This includes but is not limited to;
a. Emerging Mobile Economy: There has been a telecoms revolution in Kenya and other EAC member states with an increase in mobile phone subscriptions. This has catalysed innovations such as M-Pesa which have continued to deepen financial inclusion.
Kenyans and EAC citizens are now more wired, with the majority connecting to the internet through their mobile phones. b. Global Geopolitical Standpoint: The world is paying close attention to EAC and engaging with it. In particular, Kenya is enjoying growth in foreign direct investment (FDI) attracted by its natural resource endowment, integrating markets and growing economies. The recent discovery of oil in Turkana has continued to generate great interests amongst foreign investors. The region has increased both inter- and intra- regional trade and has also witnessed an increase in intra-EAC FDI as well as in FDI from outside. c. The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA): EALA has passed several community laws and the Council of Ministers has established various sectoral councils to oversee policy issues in the regional integration process. Kenya participates in this process and has nominated legislators at the EALA. d. EAC catalogue of Standards: The bureaus of standards have developed an EAC catalogue of Standards which has a mutual recognition of standards marks across the region. This has encouraged free movement of quality goods between member states. e. One Stop Border Posts: In order to facilitate trade, one stop border posts have been
established in Taveta and Busia.
Northern Corridor Development: In order to boost trade volumes along the Northern Corridor, EAC partner states have been focusing on infrastructure development projects. Kenya has completed construction of phase one of the Standard Gauge Railway in line with the Tripartite Agreement signed in August 2013 by the three-member states; Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda for the development and operation of the SGR between Mombasa-Kampala-Kigali.
Despite the ministry achieving great strides in the EAC Integration process and Northern Corridor Development, there are still a number of key challenges facing both functions. The integration process has achieved less than desired as witnessed with the collapse of the previous EAC in 1977. Poverty is still a chronic challenge in the region with majority of the youth still being unemployed. It’s impressive to note that Kenya has achieved Millennium Development Goal 3 - Universal access to primary education. However, the country is still facing low enrolment/transition of students to secondary schools. Kenya’s infrastructure deficit is still a challenge, with most projects being implemented at a high cost with their Value for Money (VfM) being questionable, such as the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). Additionally, most roads are in a dilapidated state and cargo is still being carried by road. The overlapping Regional Economic Communities (REC’s) membership by partner states including Kenya, continues to pose harmonization and coordination challenges. Due to this, there is lack of political commitment among partner states. It is also good to note that EAC institutions are weak as they lack the capacity to enforce sanctions against partner states who fail to implement agreements. The selection process of the members of these institutions is not democratic as they are handpicked by partner states with the absence of the citizens’ views. Finally, the issue of Non-Trade barriers (NTBs) and limited private sector engagement are an impediment to economic growth in the region. An example is the recent cross border challenges between Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania, in relation to reported cross border restrictions and other Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs). These problems seem to have made building a successful integration process a daunting task for the ministry, despite its perceived importance in the increasingly globalized world.
One of the stated pillars of Thirdway Alliance Kenya is the positioning of the nation of Kenya in its rightful place in the Competitive Global Agenda. It is therefore of utmost importance that the nation work towards the success of the East African Community, as a first step in securing a compelling place within other regional economic communities.
In view of the challenges facing the Ministry, Thirdway Alliance Kenya Shadow Cabinet Ministry for EAC and Northern Corridor Development proposes the following policy recommendations:
The Ministry will focus on the following measures in the short term:
Winnie Muhia Pauline Mugure
Shadow Cabinet Secretary Senior Advisor
8th March, 2018
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