The head of Trade and Regional Integration Department, Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC), Dr. Isaac Shinyekwa participated at the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Fifth Annual Research Forum held in Nairobi Kenya from 6-10 August 2018.

The forum was held under the theme “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend for Social Economic Transformation and Deep Regional Integration in COMESA through Academia-Industry Linkages”.

Atleast eleven papers papers were presented at the forum and Shinyekwa discussed the paper titled “The Role of Fiscal Policy in Harnessing Demographic Dividend for Social-Economic Transformation in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa” authored by Duncan O. Ouma who hails from the School of Economics, Kenyatta University and the Macroeconomic Policy Division of UNECA – Addis Ababa.

Shinyekwa endorsed the paper’s topic for being pertinent since the COMESA region has a high population growth rate. He said the study objectives “to empirically investigate the role of the government in harnessing demographic dividend”, and specifically; “to investigates the impact of fiscal policy on the indicators of socio-economic transformation among the COMESA member countries” come out clearly.

He added that the data sources are clear and authentic.
He however flouted the paper’s literature review for addressing only education and health indicators and leaving out the other key indicators like family planning and governance.
Since 2014 COMESA has been organizing Annual Research Forums under the ACBF funded project on “Enhancing Capacity of the COMESA Secretariat to Support Economic and Trade Policy Analysis and Research.”

The Research Forums bring together the academia, government officers, private sector, policy think tanks and development partners and provide a platform to discuss emerging topical issues in regional integration.

This is made possible through call for papers under a contemporary theme which is informed by the COMESA Council of Ministers decisions, the tripartite free trade area negotiations, the continental free trade area negotiations and aspirations as well the global economic and trade dynamics.

Similarly, Martin Luther Munnu, a Research Analyst with EPRC participated at the Eastern African Sub Regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI) review meeting to discuss the findings of the survey of Women in Cross Border Trade project.

The review meeting was held on 7th August from 2:00pm at EASSI secretariat in Kulambiro Kisaasi.

Munnu EASSI 7 Aug 2018

Munnu shared his thoughts on the study, gaps it could have identified, best practices and recommendations. He noted that the study generates a rich database, which can be used beyond the intended objective. He also said that the targeting of the respondents and their categorization was a plus for the survey.

He asked the evaluators to cover all entry border points and delve deeper on issues pertaining to gender in cross border trade and what numerous stakeholders are doing in as far as regulation in concerned.


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