Regional Integration: Training Programme for Senior Officials from the Ministry of East Africa Community Affairs (MEACA) in Uganda, 4-7 October 2010
tralac conducted a Training Programme for Senior Officials from the Ministry of East Africa Community Affairs (MEACA) in Kampala, Uganda from 4-7 October 2010.
The Programme focused on the integration agenda of the East African Community (including the establishment of the East Africa Customs Union, and the Common Market) as well as the proposed Tripartite Free Trade Area which will include the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the East Africa Community (EAC).
tralac’s Capacity Building Methodology
Based on our assessment of developments on the trade agenda and especially the current renewed focus in Africa on regional integration as an integral component of a development strategy, at national, sub-regional and pan-African levels, tralac’s training methodology is distinguished by the following factors:
Acknowledgement of the regional context: Africa’s integration ambitions need to be acknowledged. Developments at sub-regional level have important implications for national trade policy space and scope. Whilst it is important to recognize that comparative learning is important, the simple transposition of experience from for example the European Union or elsewhere, may not provide appropriate solutions to African problems.
Inter-disciplinary approach: international trade (including the regional integration) is increasingly governed by robust rules-based regimes. Unilateral preferences are no longer the key for market access for developing countries and indeed for Africa. This requires legal technical expertise and also appropriate institutional development. The WTO remains important even if the Doha Round is protracted, because the WTO Rules have to be complied with by regional trade agreements (Free trade Areas and Customs Unions which are provided for in GATT Art XXIV, and on the services front, Art 5 of the GATS).
Adult learning is best approached as a mutual capacity enhancement exercise. All government officials for example come with a wealth of knowledge and experience, which must be woven into the learning experience. Recognition of this fact leads to a very specific learning modality:
Interactive modalities: discussions, debates, presentations by participants
Experiential learning: case studies are used to apply a range of skills and learning experiences
Lateral learning: creative solutions to policy challenges often learning to inter-disciplinary solutions that involve different ministries, involve policy coordination processes
Group learning: adult learning is more focused on team work. Working in teams characterizes much of our work experiences. Learning to manage team deadlines and outputs, requires strategy to benefit from the specific skills sets of individuals of the group.
New approaches to review and assessment: traditional assessment of adult learning is in appropriate. In many policy cases, there are no clear right or wrong answers (we recognize that policy making is a political economy process); hence assessment requires different approaches; including scenarios (case studies) and peer review and debate. Review and assessment of the learning experience is less formal and part of the learning process. For this programme, there is no formal assessment, but peer review through discussion of case studies and group presentations.