The 2021 East Africa Trade and Industrialization Week (EATIW), which opened in Dar es Salaam Monday last week – “centred the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as an impetus to the region’s integration processes.”
As the EAC Secretary General, Dr Peter Mathuki, put it at the EATIW opening in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam, “regional integration is the key objective of the East African Community: a means to sustainably develop economies”.
In effect, then, the event has helped to put AfCFTA at the heart of the EAC regional integration processes, as the continental free trade area programme is considered crucial in achieving the envisaged regional integration.
Held under the theme ‘Promoting Eastern African Region as a Preferred Gateway for Trade, Investment and Industrialisation,’ the five-day gathering brought together over 200 representatives from different stakeholders across the globe.
These included private sector business operators, policy makers, civil society leaders, UN and other international organisation leaders, academia, etc., to deliberate on how the EAC member states could best integrate the AfCFTA agenda so as to also functionally advance the EAC development agenda.
One way of effectively doing this is to involve private sector players in national, regional and continental agendas for all-inclusive socioeconomic development activities – especially in the areas of agriculture, trade, investment and industrialisation in public/private partnership mode when and where necessary.
The EAC countries are indeed richly-endowed with natural resources – including the human resource – all of which have immense potential to catapult the countries and the region to new, higher levels of socioeconomic development on a sustainable basis if functionally harnessed.
Indeed, all this could not have come at a better time than now when AfCFTA is still in the process of fully taking wing in the global economic space as the world’s largest free trade area and single market in human history... And, more is the reason why Tanzania and its EAC partner-states should, must hop on-board the AfCFTA scheme soonest.
Sanitation: TIME TO GET TOUGH
The lack of proper toilets remains a problem both in urban and rural areas due to various factors, including poverty, ignorance, a rapidly increasing population and unplanned development.
This partly explains why cholera and other communicable diseases caused by poor sanitation are common occurrences in places such as Dar es Salaam. The big question here is: is enough being done to ensure proper and adequate sewage disposal?
We may be in the 21st century, but there are people who still think that it is perfectly in order to relieve themselves in the bush. Recent surveys show that proper toilets are not very high up on the list of priorities of a vast number of Tanzanians. They are simply not viewed as a necessity.
The education campaign the government has been conducting since the early days of independence needs to be supplemented with the strict enforcement of by-laws on proper sewage disposal.
We should get to a point where people should be made to understand that not having a proper toilet amounts to breaking the law.