The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in collaboration with East African Community’s secretariat on Wednesday launched a program for strengthening institutional capacities for industrial policy in East African countries.
The policy and strategy provides general contours of policy intentions and strategic areas of focus to guide EAC towards achieving the set goals and in particular, attaining industrialized economic status by 2032.
Speaking at the official launch of the program, UNIDO representative in Tanzania Gerald Runyoro said the UN body, with assistance from South Korea will help five EAC member countries develop their industrialization policy and actually make it work.
The official said each member state has its own types of raw materials that can be used to manufacture finished products in another then get to export them as “Made in East Africa” items.
Runyoro said the program is meant to mark a fundamental milestone on the path towards the achievement of the main objectives of the EAC Industrialization Policy and Strategy 2012- 2032, approved by EAC Summit of Heads of State in Bujumbura, Burundi, in 2011.
Senior Industrial Engineer Jennifer Gache said the program is part of UNIDO’s strategy towards boosting industrial development in East African countries.
She said the policy is aligned to the relevant articles of the treaty in particular article 79 and 80 which provide for regional cooperation in matters of industrial development as well as article 44 of Common Market Protocol in which partner states undertake to adopt common principles to cooperate in industrial development in the region.
Uledi Mussa, Tanzania’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry and Trade, decried over the slow pace at which EAC member countries are taking towards implementing what was agreed by the EAC summit in 2011.
He said EAC leaders directed member countries to phase out importation of second hand clothes to strengthen regional textile industries.
“But, lack of political will amongst East African leaders is one of the serious challenges hampering development of textile industries in the region,” Uledi said.
“There is even a policy in place towards banning importation of second-hand clothing as inked during the sailing of Customs Union Protocol back in 2005 but the execution was halted due to political interference,” he said, adding that such garments were taking major toll on the local textile industries.
The Permanent Secretary was on view that, without manufacturing industry, East African member states may as well forget about development because production was the key factor in pushing any community forward.
“Developed nations will never support industrialization of poor countries as they need our raw materials,” he said. Enditem