From 28 to 29 November, the EAC Secretariat invited almost 40 journalists from all seven EAC Partner States to Arusha. The two-day workshop aimed at updating the media on the current status of regional integration, in turn enabling more accurate and timely reporting on matters of EAC integration.
As part of the workshop, the EAC organised sessions on topics such as the implementation of the Common Market Protocol, progress towards a Single Currency and sources of EAC news – all with inputs from EAC experts. The training was facilitated as part of support to enhancing communication of successes of regional integration under the project “Support to East African Integration” (SEAMPEC II).
In the opening remarks of the EAC Secretary General, Hon. Dr. Peter Mutuku Mathuki, read by the Director of Social Sectors, Dr. Irene Isaka, the Director commended the regional media for reporting on the importance of EAC integration. Still, she noted that more needs to be done to improve media coverage on EAC integration. Hence, the EAC had organised the workshop to enhance the capacity of media to accurately report on regional integration.
Speaking on behalf of GIZ, Communications and Cooperation Manager, Mr. Marius Weist, noted that EAC integration needs the support of the region’s citizens to flourish. He further highlighted that it is crucial to showcase the benefits and opportunities of regional integration, in order to gain the support of the common mwananchi. “The most obvious vehicle to convey this information is the regional media. And there are a lot of successes to talk about.”
Presenting on the implementation of the Common Market Protocol, EAC Trade Specialist Edward Kitonsa, asked the journalists to be mindful when reporting on Partner States’ commitments. “Sometimes I read the newspapers and I wish the journalist had read the ‘ANNEX’ of EAC agreements before blaming a Partner State that they had violated agreements. Thus, Mr. Kitonsa urged the journalists to be mindful when reporting, “especially in the area of services, and capital where there was a specific commitment made by a Partner State”.
Recommendations by the journalists on closer cooperation between the EAC and the regional media were noted and will be considered going forward.
GIZ, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, is eager to support the EAC in bringing the successes of regional integration to the people and hence making it tangible and allowing for citizens to utilize the benefits already present. This is in line with the 6th EAC Development Strategy as the strategy defines “Increasing the visibility of EAC stakeholder knowledge and awareness, and the participation of EAC citizens in the integration process” as a core objective.
Media reporting on the workshop:
Find more information on SEAMPEC II here.