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EAC-GIZ Sensitization Workshops to Bridge Gap in Cross Border Trade

East African Community Secretariat, Arusha, 8 April, 2015: As a way of strengthening communication and sensitisation of EAC achievements and popularizing integration benefits to all East Africans, the EAC Secretariat in collaboration with GIZ will be conducting sensitization workshops at Mutukula and Sirari/Isebania borders from 16th to 17th and from 23rd to 24th April, respectively.

The sensitisation workshops, which targets small traders, young entrepreneurs and women traders, will be conducted in a participatory manner with presentations on EAC policies, projects and programs. Special attention will be given to the free movement of goods, capital, persons and labour across EAC Partner States.

The workshops will be complemented by trainings on customs clearing procedures, including payment of taxes and the consequences of crossing the border without a valid travel document. Training guidelines will be developed to increase knowledge about cross-border trade for the selected target groups. EAC-GIZ will also be engaging community based media in disseminating EAC information, education and communication as a means of reaching out to more East Africans.

“The potential for cross border trade and related economic impact at border communities are not entirely explored because remote communities have very little or no knowledge of the integration or its benefits,“ said Mr. Owora Richard Othieno, Head of EAC Corporate Communications and Public Affairs. “With these workshops, border communities and the small traders will gain essential skills and knowledge from the best practices and lessons learned in the integration process,” he said, adding that “EAC-GIZ sensitisation workshops at border communities will encourage ownership and protection of the integration process by EAC citizens”.

The first round of the sensitisation workshops were held between June and July 2014 along the Makamba border, between Burundi and Tanzania, and along the Rusumo border, between Tanzania and Rwanda. As a result of these workshops, the local communities around those border posts are reaping the rewards from the extended markets on both sides of their borders.