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Institute of Economic Affairs Call for Research Proposals – EAC Common Market

Call for Proposals: Research on EAC Customs and Common Market Protocal
I. About IEA
The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) is Kenya’s first public affairs dialogue forum with the mandate to promote an informed discourse on key policy issues-both economic and political, and to examine and promote feasible policy alternatives in these areas.
The IEA provides important research and analytical support to policy makers and implementers drawn from three arms of government-the executive, legislature and judiciary. IEA’s vision is to have “a Kenyan society with a well managed economy that allows for an informed public participation where national interest, justice and dignity of all citizens are upheld.”
This vision is focused on the future and defines the scope of IEA’s work as working to ensure that the economy is well managed through participation of citizens.  On the other hand, IEA’s Mission is “to facilitate the review of policy and public affairs by Kenyans in order to inform decision making processes.” This mission is derived from its very broad and futuristic vision in addition to its unique experience in exerting transparent and knowledge-based influence on policy processes and outcomes.
The Trade Information Programme (TIP)
Kenya is simultaneously engaged in a number of trade negotiation agreements and processes that cover a variety of issues. The agreements include: regional agreements such as the East African Community (EAC) treaty, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) agreement, the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA) with the European Union (EU); and multilateral agreement like the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement. These agreements cover a wide range of issues such as trade, finance, governance, co-operation etc.
The Institute recognizes that it can no longer merely react to trade issues as they emerge. If it is to continue as a public policy think tank, it must begin to anticipate future change rather than merely react to change. The programme considers the short and long-term future by examining the resources it has, both human and financial, in order to meet its obligations of informed policy advocacy.
Programme Goal
To be an influential actor in Kenya’s trade negotiations, policy formulation and reforms, and impact assessment.
1.    To monitor and report the developments of multilateral, regional and bilateral trade negotiations.
2.    To identify and examine the impact of multilateral, regional and bilateral trade agreements in Kenya.
3.    To facilitate the participation of media, private sector, civil society and parliamentarians in trade policy debates.
4.    To strengthen and sustain partnerships with relevant government departments and ministries and other institutions engaged in the formulation of trade policy.
5.    To facilitate the development of appropriate trade policies in Kenya based on research
II. Research: East African Community Common Market Studies
Regional trade arrangements have the potential to advance political, social and economic development within member states. The implementation of the East African Community Common Market commenced in 2010 following the ratification of the protocol which is pursuant to the, ‘Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community’ signed in November 1999.
A common market is made up of the partner states in a regional trade arrangement and operates as a single market for goods, services, labour and capital as well as the existence of common taxes and trade laws. The common market stage of integration is multifaceted and can be described as a complex process due to multiple undertakings required of the member states.
The region is now actively working towards realising the objectives of the common market in terms of the free movement of labour, capital, goods and services, harmonisation of taxes as well as incentives related to investment. This has been aided by an already established and functioning customs union within the region. One of the core functions of the market is to remove obstacles to trade as well as liberalising the movement of factors of production in order to deepen integration within the community.
Looking at the trade impacts of the main provisions of the common market, would go a long way in understanding the developmental benefits that could accrue to Kenya from the realisation of this process and could provide Kenya with an opportunity to become part of a larger market as well as opening up the country to investment opportunities.
The common market touches on a wide array of policy issues some of which include socio-economic dynamics, inequalities, and competitiveness and key to this would be the identification of relevant policies underlying this framework which could impact positively on the welfare of Kenyan citizens.
The Institute of Economic Affairs invites research proposals from individuals to undertake studies on any one of the following thematic areas relating to EAC customs and common market protocol:
(i) EAC Customs Union
The East African Community was formed to enhance cooperation among partner states with the objective of maximizing benefits to the region in the political, economic and social terms. With general improvement on these three fronts, it has been argued that the community will be able to compete globally as it will now be able to cope with the challenges of globalization.
Subject to Article 7 of the treaty establishing the East African Community, one of the key operational principles of the community is the principle of asymmetry so that where members are at different levels of development, measures will be put in place to address the imbalances in the process of integration.
To this end, while a common external tariff was put in place, removal of internal tariffs depended on each member’s level of development, and as a result, Kenya removed internal tariff to other partner states but she faced different tariffs when exporting her goods within the region. Furthermore, there have been varied lists of ‘sensitive products’ put forward by members.
While EAC has already celebrated 10 years since the signing of the treaty in 1999, the customs union is wrought with challenges relating to implementation of some provisions, such as harmonization of customs procedures, other duties and charges on imports, internal indirect taxes, and of fees on production.
At the same time, the EAC members are free to negotiate bilateral agreements and as such, there has been the challenge of membership overlaps thereby hindering implementation of the customs union agreement, particularly the customs management act. It is important to examine the implementation status of the customs union agreement, particularly the challenges and opportunities faced by Kenya and the linkages to development and poverty reduction.
(ii) EAC Common Market
The EAC common market protocol provides for the following:
a. Free movement of goods.
b. Free movement of persons and labour.
c. Right of establishment.
d. Right of residence.
e. Free movement of services.
f. Free movement of capital.
Items a, b, e and f commonly referred to as the “four freedoms” are quite significant in fostering integration. The different partner states have provided different schedules under which they will open up their respective economies to these freedoms, particularly the movement of labour. It is important to examine the opportunities and challenges that any of these ‘four freedoms’ portend for the Kenyan economy and its implication for development and poverty reduction.
(iii) The Political Economy of EAC Regional Integration
While there is excitement about deeper regional integration, the interactions of stakeholders is important in determining the success of the implementation of agreements that ensure deeper and genuine integration.
It is the stakeholders involved in the integration process such as policy makers, law enforcement agencies and the business communities among others that ensure sound implementation and application of agreements and laws.
Given that the Community has made concrete steps of moving into a common market, the political economy of the EAC regional integration should be thoroughly examined in order to provide sound policy proposals that will enhance integration. Secondly, perceptions of community members amongst themselves are also important in establishing the commitment of member states in achieving deep integration.
Based on this background, IEA’s Trade Information Programme would like to solicit research proposals in any of the thematic areas provided above. The proposals should  generate new knowledge that will assist policy makers within the EAC and respective member states work towards fostering deeper regional integration.
III. Proposal Requirements
Each proposal should not exceed 12 pages (1.15/1.5 spacing) and must include the following:
·         Background: the policy context of the proposed research.
·         Research Problem: the research problem should be clearly identified and must be relevant to any of the three thematic areas chosen
·         Objective(s): specific objectives of the research from selected research areas must be explicitly explained.
·         Methodology: a detailed methodology should be explained indicating how the research objectives are to be achieved. Researchers are strongly encouraged to undertake analytical/empirical work using current data as much as possible.
·         Statement of qualification and current CV(s)
·         Work Programme and Timeline: a brief description of activities and timeline needed for each activity. Total duration for each study  is 3 months
·         Financial Proposal.
The Chief Executive Officer
on or before Friday, 27 May 2011

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