EAST African Community has always been admired as a model for regional economic cooperation with enviable regional integration milestones in customs union and common market.
It is the most integrated of the five regional economic communities and it is therefore not surprising that some analysts look at as something of a yardstick with which the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)’s future prospects are being measured.
With 172 million people, a land area of 2.5 million square kilometres and a combined Gross Domestic Product of US$ 172 billion, according to EAC Statistics for 2017, the region has great potential for growth and development among member states.
However, the future of the community we aspire to be realised, we need to remain steadfast in our responsibilities which include timely payments of our contributions.
According to the Treaty establishing the East African Community the budget of the Community shall be funded by equal contributions by the partner states and receipts from regional and international donations and any other sources as may be determined by the Council. However, member states contributions have been dwindling amid growing donor fatigue.
For the just ended 2018/2019 year, only 59 per cent of the budget estimates has so far been received and the problem has become serious such that the East Africa Legislative is now suggesting sanctions against partner states that delay or do not remit their contributions. In 2013/14, partner states contributed 94 per cent of the budget by the end of the fiscal year and 87.5 per cent in 2014/2015.
Partner states’ contributions however maintained a downward trend with 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18 fiscal years recording 70.5, 79 and 65 per cent, respectively.
It has been noted that the EAC budget has not increased for the last four years, while the community has witnessed remarkable growth in terms of institutional territorial jurisdiction and volume of activities.
This remarkable growth has however not attracted a proportionate increase in funding to address the ever- growing needs of the community.
We have been receiving support from development partners but we should take note that the EAC is ours and we own the regional development agenda.
While we hope and pray that we remain steadfast in cutting on unnecessary expenditures and focus on more efficient spending.
We also call upon member states to stick to their responsibilities of timely payments of contributions.
Over reliance of donor support does paint us a very good picture especially when they tax their people to support us when we do not do what we are supposed to be doing.