The East African Community (EAC) is a unique achievement in Africa. With six Partner States, an ambitious integration agenda and delivering ground-breaking policies, it is a unifying force in East Africa. One of its biggest achievements to date is the development and operationalization of the Custom Union and the Common Market Protocols.
However, despite being one of the fastest growing regional economic blocs in the world and shaping the economic, political, societal and cultural development of East Africa, many citizens are unaware of how the EAC affects their daily lives. To address this problem, the EAC Secretariat, the Regional Dialogue Committee and GIZ developed a joint initiative called the Incubator for Integration and Development in East Africa – IIDEA – as a tool for engaging citizens of the EAC Partners in the implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol and showcase their real integration experiences.
What is IIDEA?
IIDEA incubates small-scale regional integration projects which are proposed and implemented by civil society and private sector across East Africa. We provide technical and financial support to innovative projects across East Africa that highlight and contribute towards East African integration.
Our mission is to show the achievements of integration to citizens and provide a platform for their voices to be heard. We offer opportunities for dialogue and exchange on a multi-level basis to enable integration to be both responsive and needs focused. The goal of IIDEA is to ensure that ‘East African integration is lived because the East African citizens understand the benefits of people-centered and market-driven regional integration.
This initiative brings integration closer to the lives of ordinary citizens than ever before, enabling them to see the practical results of the policies that have been adopted. It also delivers feedback to the EAC policymaking bodies, helping to guide the integration process to ensure it meets the needs on the ground. In so doing, we aim to make integration something that East Africans can be proud of.
To date, IIDEA provided support to twenty-five pioneering projects from across East Africa. They receive a package of financial and technical support and projects are monitored in terms of their ability to showcase real-life experiences of regional integration. Each project conducts activities in two or more Partner States and focus on issues that range from trade facilitation, technological innovation, cultural exchange, gender equality, youth empowerment, cross-border mobility and many more. Ultimately, IIDEA works together with partners that not only highlight the diversity of East African integration, but also those that push towards holistic and cooperative development.