Dialogue Framework for Private Sector and Civil Society Organisations and the East African Community
Representatives from the five East African Community Partner States and key actors from private sector and civil society organisations of the region have jointly developed a framework for structured and effective dialogue during a final expert meeting in November 2011 in Arusha.
Supported by German Development Cooperation through GIZ and Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA), the dialogue framework involves the citizens of East Africa and multi stakeholder partnerships and ensures widening and deepening cooperation among the Partner States in political, economic, social, cultural, health, education, science and technology, defence, security, legal and judicial affairs for the benefit of the people of East Africa.
The Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC provides for the participation of civil society and private sector in the integration processes, and envisages an organised and institutionalised mechanism to engage non-state actors in the Community’s integration processes. This provision results from the desire to avoid the pitfalls of the previous Community (involving Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) which collapsed in 1977 due to, among other reasons, a lack of private sector and civil society participation.
The agreed structure envisages a forum convened annually by the Secretary General and following an agenda jointly agreed between private sector, civil society and EAC Secretariat. Stakeholders agreed on a dynamic structure, capable of adapting to future developments yet comprehensive, simple to implement, allowing for both formal and informal engagements with proactive stakeholders and including effective monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.
The annual forum requires that PSOs and CSOs collaborate at the regional level through regional apex bodies; ideally one apex body for the private sector and another for the civil society, both democratically legitimised through their respective sectors. At the national level, the regional apex bodies will link through the national private sector and civil society focal points. The national focal points will link to the relevant national ministry through the available PPD mechanisms at national level. These positions will also be forwarded to the EAC through the coordinating ministry. Additionally, the regional position will also be submitted through the regional body to the EAC Secretariat and the relevant EAC decision-making bodies.
Once the dialogue framework has been adopted by the Council of Ministers, the next step shall be the development of an effective implementation strategy.