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By Godfrey Olukya 18-3-2013

Experts from the East African Community are meeting Burundi’s capital Bujumbura, to discuss plans to empower border communities through the modernization of locally shared markets.

East African community is made up of 5 countries including Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. South Sudan applied to join and the application is being considered by the member states.

The meeting which will end on  20th March 2013 is organized in collaboration with the African Trade Policy Centre (APTC) and is taking place at Hotel Safari Gate. It  is a follow-up on the 1st Meeting of Experts in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, Rwanda held June 2011 where a proposal for a project entitled, Empowering border communities through modernization of shared markets’ was considered.

The Kigali meeting recommended, among others, construction of shared markets, storage facilities, improving water and sanitation and building feeder and access roads for border communities. Border communities all over east Africa would also benefit from electrification, health care centers, garbage collection posts and police posts once the project gets off the ground.

The ongoing meeting in Bujumbura is expected to consider and finalize the detailed draft project report, recommend locations and sites in the five Partner States where the proposed project facilities will be set up also and agree on a road-map for mobilizing resources for implementation of the project by June 2014.

The experts’ meeting will then recommend to the Sectoral Council on Gender, Youth, Children, Social Protection and Community Development to adopt the project.

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