The State Department of East African Community (EAC) Integration this year participated for the first time at the Nakuru Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) Nakuru Show that ran from 6th to 9th July, 2016.
It provided an exciting opportunity for technical officers from the State Department to sensitize members of the public on the EAC integration process, the opportunities for trade across the region and border crossing procedures under the Common Market concept.
Among the issues of immediate public concern, as revealed by the flurry of enquiries at the Departmental stand, included questions about free movement of goods across the borders, educational and employment opportunities and the anticipated use of a single currency within the EAC region.
While business people and farmers made enquiries about import and export procedures, students and the youth were particularly enthusiastic about opportunities for education, employment and consultancy services within the other EAC Partner States.
Issues were also raised about the fate of regional tourism, with questions around the recent (but already resolved) misunderstanding between Kenya and Tanzania about handling of tour vans entering either of the Partner States.
The public were also informed about the entry of South Sudan into the EAC and what it portends for EAC trade, assurances being given by the experts that despite the recent re-ignition of conflicts among the hitherto warring parties, regional stability would remain intact as peace processes continue in Africa’s newest Republic.
However, the issue that generated biggest interest among members of the public was the use of identity cards to cross the borders between Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, with most of them expressing happiness that the move would make border crossing less complicated.
Dignitaries who visited the Department’s stand and commended the sensitization process, included Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) National Chairman Mudzo Nzili, Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers (KUPPET) Secretary General Akelo Misori and former East African Community Minister (now Agricultural Development Corporation Chairman) Musa Sirma, among others.
They were taken through the sensitization process by Senior Regional Integration Officers, among them Senior Assistant Director Hezron Momanyi and Assistant Directors Sarah Ogongo, Joseph Mungere and Ronald Inyangala.