Public Communications Office
A two-day Regional Youth leaders’ Workshop on the East African Community Integration process opened up at Nyeri technical institute. The workshop whose theme is; “The East African Community integration process ‘Opportunities and roadmap for engagement” was officially opened by the Principal secretary, State Department of East African Affairs, Ministry of East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, Mr. John O. Konchellah.
In a speech read on his behalf by a Senior Assistant Director in the department of Social Affairs, Mr. Samuel Kahenu, Mr. Konchellah said the workshop fits perfectly into the regional aspiration of creating space for the youth development in the integration agenda. At the same time, he added, that the involvement of the youth in the EAC integration process in anchored on Article 120 (c) of the Treaty for the establishment of the East African community.
‘’I wish to note that this workshop is coming four year since the National Workshop held in Nairobi in May, 2011 organised by the Ministry and was attended by representatives of all the 47 counties. During the workshop, the youth requested my Ministry to organise similar workshop at county level. Since then similar youth workshops have been held in Mombasa, Taita- Taveta, Meru and Bondo, Narok, Nakuru, and Migori, Counties.’’
Saying that the future of the country is in the hands of the youth, Mr. Konchellah stressed that their role in setting the national development agenda is captured in the country’s development blueprint, Vision 2030, which has identified the key stakeholders in the development of effective policies to achieve its objectives.
He said that the Jubilee government manifesto has amplified the role of the youth in social economic development including their participation in the EAC regional integration agenda. He told the youth that the workshop was a best forum for them to understand the EAC integration process and how they can participate in the regional integration as they purse their individual career, and socio-economic development goals.
He outlined the roles of the EAC besides integration process it has a social facet which aims at; harmonizing the Partner States’ Education Systems and Training Curricula, promoting regional harmony through sharing of Culture, Arts and Sports and also developing Regional Policies on Health and HIV/AIDS. Moreover, the integration agenda addresses issues of good governance, corruption eradication and ultimately it aims at developing and establishing a Political Federation.
The Principal Secretary disclosed that an EAC youth policy which was officially launched on 5th December 2014 in Arusha Tanzania, has already been developed. He said Kenya played a critical role during the development of the regional youth policy. At the EAC level, plans are at advanced stage to finalise the EAC youth policy action plan which will operationalize the policy by Partner States.
He said at the EAC level we have made several strides towards mainstreaming youth issues in the EAC integration Agenda.
Earlier, Mr. Kahenu told the Nyeri County Commissioner Mr. Michael Ole Nkodi during a courtesy call in his office that the sensitisation workshop targets to bridge the information gap on the status of Regional Integration process and highlights available opportunities that the youth can take advantage of within the provisions of the Customs Union (2005) and Common Market Protocol (CMP) – 2009.
Nyeri governorH.E Nderitu Gachagua, who was the chief guest said the rich youth talent had not been fully exploited, and asked the government to ensure that they were properly linked to the available 143.5million consumers within the East African Community.
In a speech read on his behalf by the County Executive in charge of special programmes, sports and youth, Mr. Gachagua said the EAC, COMESA, and European Union provided a ready market for agricultural products in the dairy, horticulture and general agriculture, which should be fully tapped into. He pledged to use the proximity of his county to facilities like the JKIA, to export all value added agricultural products into the readily available markets in the Partner states of the EAC.
The workshop is also being attended the Nyeri County Director of Youth Affairs Mr. Githinji Gomano, Assistant Directors from the ministry mr. Ronald Indimuli, and Ms Phyillis Watwana, EAC Youth ambassadors Robi Chacha and m/s Rachel Makokha.