Strategic objective: To strengthen stakeholders’ effective engagement in trade policy processes and negotiations at all levels.
The EAC Partner States are facing challenges of industrialisation, production, job creation and structural transformation. Trade can be a tool to address these challenges. . However, for this to happen, the policies should be supportive of these aspirations. . At national and regional level, governments have put in place trade and trade related policies and there are also a number of policies in the offing. There are ongoing trade negotiations at multilateral level, for example the WTO and Mega regionals like the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), at Bilateral level i.e. the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) and at continental level i.e. the Continental Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). While these processes provide opportunities, they also present challenges which EAC Partner States collectively and individually have to address. The Partner States’ capacity to effectively participate in these negotiations, to promote and defend their interests and also to take advantage of the opportunities therein has been limited. In addition, the capacity of other key stakeholders i.e. Members of Parliament, Civil Society, Private Sector, Academia to effectively participate in these processes and to hold the negotiators accountable for the positions taken is still limited.
There is still lack of coherence between national development aspirations and the positions taken in national trade policies and in regional, continental and global trade negotiations. It is therefore important to continue enhancing the capacity of both the key stakeholders and government to promote national and regional development interests in the various trade policy and negotiation processes.