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This was said by former EAC Secretary General, Mr Amanya Mushega, who said EAC needs to revisit and do away with the standard way of judging itself by sub-Saharan African standards.
“India, Singapore and South Africa refused to treat themselves that way. They aimed high, looked at the way the USA, Japan, Germany, UK and the USSR developed their human resources, copied them with the view to competing with them,” Mr Mushega said.
Mr Mushega was giving a keynote address during the opening of the two-day EAC-EU-IMF conference on regional integration on Monday in Arusha, Tanzania. The theme of the conference was ‘Regional Integration in the EAC: Making the most of the Common Market on the Road to a Monetary Union.’
Mr Mushega called for heavy investment in human resource development, and urged the Community to compare the number and quality of local skills with advanced economies. “For EAC to develop, exploit its resources, build industries, not cutting and wrapping imported products for it to build and maintain roads, railways, airports and dams, compete in local and world markets, it must put maximum efforts on the quality of education and skills of its population,” he said.
Speaking at the forum, the director of the IMF’s African Department Mr Abebe Aemro Selassie, said the challenge for the EAC, as for other fast growing countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa, was how to sustain growth over the medium term, and how to ensure that scaled-up public investment and borrowing translates into durable growth.
In her remarks, Ms Jesca Eriyo, the EAC Deputy Secretary General, said the Community had made major progress in trade and finance.