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Tanzanians call for fasttracking of integration

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From left: Presidents Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda at the 12th Extraordinary Summit in Arusha. FILE PHOTO | EMMANUEL HERMAN

From left: Presidents Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda at the 12th Extraordinary Summit in Arusha. FILE PHOTO | EMMANUEL HERMAN 

By CHRISTOPHER KIDANKA, The EastAfrican

posted  Saturday, October 11  2014 at  17:56

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  • 80 per cent of the people reached by mobile phone were not aware of the Coalition of the Willing, but among those who have heard about it, 67 per cent wanted their country to be part of it.
  • 70 per cent of Tanzanians oppose any effort to allow free land ownership.
  • Despite the EAC Common Market being in place since 2010, the free movement of labour is not yet a reality, as demonstrated by the periodic rounding up and expulsion from Tanzania of illegal workers from other EAC countries.

Majority of Tanzanians say the East African Community has positively impacted the country’s economy and want it to join in fast-tracking integration, according to a new survey.

Three EAC member states, Kenya Rwanda and Uganda— sometimes called the Coalition of the Willing, have agreed to speed up several integration issues, with Tanzania and Burundi remaining cautious about hastening the process.

According to a survey brief launched in Dar es Salaam by an East African initiative, Twaweza, the majority of Tanzanians are positive about integration with the largest and economically most important EAC members, Kenya and Uganda.

According to researcher Elvis Mushi, 80 per cent of the people reached by mobile phone were not aware of the Coalition of the Willing, but among those who have heard about it, 67 per cent wanted their country to be part of it.

Mr Mushi said the majority approved the introduction of a single tourist visa for visitors coming to any EAC country; and the ability of EAC citizens to travel across member states using only their national identity cards.

According to the survey, 70 per cent of Tanzanians oppose any effort to allow free land ownership.

“Free movement of labour has 69 per cent support in 2014, compared with a separate research done by Research for Poverty Alleviation in 2008, in which free movement of people, goods and services had 67 per cent support,” he said.

Mr Mushi said many respondents supported free movement of labour on the grounds that EAC labour market liberalisation is on the demand side and Tanzanian citizens can benefit from an increased supply of talent and quality in their own country.

“Citizens agree with experts on the economic benefits offered by the EAC. However, there is a risk of losing opportunities that are part of the current EAC momentum. For the well-being of the current and future generations, Tanzania clearly cannot afford to miss out on any of the drivers of economic growth offered by further integration,” he said.

However despite the EAC Common Market being in place since 2010, the free movement of labour is not yet a reality, as demonstrated by the periodic rounding up and expulsion from Tanzania of illegal workers from other EAC countries.

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