Project Case Study
Building research and coordination capacity for regional trade in Uganda
Supporting East African countries with integration in the run up to the creation of the East African Common Market
Uganda’s Ministry of East African Community Affairs (MEACA) was established in 2009 to support the country’s regional integration agenda with the East Africa Community, which works towards improving economic, political, social and cultural integration between its member states.
In September 2009, we were hired by the Department for International Development and Trade Mark East Africa to design and implement a programme of support for MEACA, to build capacity for trade policy research, coordination and regional negotiations.
Our team designed a programme to build the ministry’s institutional structure as a coordinating agency for regional integration and Common Market accession. The support focused on reviewing the functions and mandates of the Ministry, developing a new organisational structure, and creating a policy coordination unit within the Ministry that carries out technical analysis to improve the effectiveness of the policy making process in regional integration issues.
We also endeavoured to develop capacity within the Ministry for monitoring and evaluation, and ran information, education and communication campaigns on the pros and cons of regional integration.
We offered technical input for negotiations with the EAC, developing negotiation briefs as required and building MEACA’s capacity for research and advocacy. Our trade lawyer and economist carried out a comprehensive economic and social impact assessment of the newly ratified common market protocol, with a particular emphasis on the impact of movement of labour. Furthermore, the policy coordination unit researched and wrote two detailed reports focusing on the impact of the EAC on Uganda’s labour and services sectors, and recommended which measures to take. We also carried out a fiduciary risk assessment within MEACA that identified capacity gaps needing to be urgently addressed.
The project has frequently been described by our DFID and TradeMark East Africa counterparts as the model capacity building project on trade policy and regional integration in the region.