EAC must raise $3.5m to keep confederation plan on course

Thursday May 06 2021
EAC PIC

Gen Kahinda Otaafire, Uganda EAC Affairs minister

By Zephania Ubwani

Arusha. Some $3.5 million has to be raised to complete the East African Community’s political confederation project.

The money would cover holding of the ongoing consultations in the six partner states, said Gen Kahinda Otaafire, Uganda EAC Affairs minister. Speaking in Kampala early this week, the minister said Uganda has already raised $600,000 to support the project.

This was in addition to the $150,000 Uganda had given to the EAC Secretariat in November 2019 to fund the process.

National consultations for the EAC Political Confederation are aimed at enhancing awareness on the ongoing Constitution-making processes. This would transform the six-nation EAC into a Political Confederation modelled on a Confederation Constitution.

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda said accelerated political integration would make EA competitive in the global economy.

He warned that failure by the EAC partner states to form a stronger, more cohesive blow with a bigger market “would be disastrous to the region”.

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“Integration is not really something we will do or not do. It is a must,” he stressed when speaking to members of the Committee of Experts. The Committee is charged with drafting the Constitution of the envisaged political union for the six nation region.

It is chaired by retired Uganda Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki, with members drawn from across the region. President Museveni rooted for prosperity for the EA region, saying economic growth comes from production of goods and services.

“Prosperity must come from work, not foreign aid. Development partners can only help a developing country in small ways,” he said.

The Ugandan leader said the EAC partner states’ markets operating individually were small “and therefore needed to integrate into a bigger one”.

He added that businesspeople of East Africa were in full support of the integration because they were much inconvenienced by national borders.

He suggested that funding of the Political Confederation should be from taxes levied on goods sold throughout the region.