Tanzania, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) -- East African Community’s
(EAC) member states on Monday called for enough political space
for young people to actively take part in the regional
decision-making body so that their voices can be easily heard.
Charles Njoroge, EAC Deputy Secretary
General in charge of Political Federation, made the call when
speaking at the 1st High Level EAC Youth Ambassadors
Dialogue on Regional Integration 2018. The theme is “Harnessing
young people’s participation in the political process.”
Held in Arusha, the EAC headquarters,
the dialogue brought on board 80 youth from Tanzania, Kenya,
Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
The two-day dialogue is meant to
bridge the information gap about the EAC integration and foster
their participation in accelerating the integration through
knowledge and experience sharing.
“It is time for member countries to
actively engage youth in different platforms related to EAC.
This is an important group when it comes to the regional
integration agenda,” he said.
Njoroge encouraged the young people to
explore opportunities available in the trading bloc, which has a
population of about 130 million and about 56 percent are youth.
Dan Kazungu, Kenyan High Commissioner
in Tanzania, described the youth as agent of change, stressing
they need to be effectively engaged on the EAC integration
Evance Ayo, one of the participants of
the forum, also indicated the need for governments to allot
space for youth to have their own representation at the East
African Legislative Assembly (EALA).
“This will make us benefit from the
regional integration process,” said Ayo, who is the EAC Youth
Ambassador from Tanzania.
According to him, youth in the trading
bloc face similar challenges such as unemployment, and
restrictions in movement of labour from one country to another.
“But, if we’re being represented in
EALA, some of those challenges would have been addressed. That’s
why we see the need for us to be represented in the regional
decision-making body so that our concerns be heard,” said James
Tayebwa, another participant, who is from Uganda.
“The current system used to get
members of EALA is expensive that an ordinary youth cannot
afford,” a participant from Kenya, Robi Chache said, suggesting
the need for countries to actively engage the youth in the
regional integration agenda because of their importance in
driving the trading bloc to the next level.