Wednesday, Jul 15, 2020

Article Index

The Division of Economic Cooperation and Social Development is responsible for the overall co-ordination of regional development co-operation in the areas of trade, industry, tourism, transport infrastructure and communication as well as issues of social development focusing on education, health, labour, migration, and youth affairs among others. The Division also liaises with other organisations, agencies and co-operating partners, on regional, continental, and international matters.

In accordance with the Agreement Establishing IGAD, IGAD Secretariat is mandated to promote programmes aimed at realizing the objectives of COMESA and the African Union. Hence World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations are carried out under these processes and framework arrangements. The Division continues to play its liaison and collaborative role on all regional economic co-operation and integration endeavours within the IGAD region, and at continental level under the auspices of the AU/AEC/REC's framework.

The division has three programme areas namely:

  1. Trade, Industry & Tourism
  2. Transport and Communications
  3. Health and Social Development

The underlying principle in promoting regional economic integration endeavours and pursuing policy harmonisation programmes by IGAD Secretariat is based on promotion and realisation of the African Economic Community among IGAD member states as stated in the aims and objectives of the Agreement Establishing IGAD.

Trade, Industry & Tourism

1. Study on Harmonization of Investment Code in the IGAD Region

The two broad objectives of the study on harmonization of investment code in IGAD region are to assist IGAD member states to attract both domestic and Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), and to enhance prospects for economic cooperation and integration in the Region. The study contributes to the development and harmonization of policies with impact on creation of economic and customs union.

2. IGAD Business Forum (IBF)

The IBF is expected to play a leading role in trade facilitation, advocacy and lobbying with a view to promoting the objectives of harmonization of policies with regard to trade, customs and transport facilitation; creation of an enabling environment for foreign, cross-border and domestic trade investment; and promotion of free movement of goods and services in the IGAD region.

3. Tourism Promotion Initiative in IGAD Region

The need for tourism development in the IGAD region with a view to promoting regional economic cooperation and integration cannot be over-emphasized. The region has the required flora and fauna that could be developed to propel the region to a self - reliance and sustainable development. Currently, earnings from this sector in form of the much needed foreign exchange is substantial. It is in consideration of the importance of this sector, that IGAD Secretariat intends to launch the promotion of IGAD Tourism Initiative. As a way forward, IGAD shall have to develop an IGAD Master Plan to guide its intervention in tourism promotion. Therefore, consultations have been initiated with the NEPAD Secretariat with a view to mobilizing resources to develop a Tourism Sector Master Plan for the IGAD Region.

Other components of this programme include:

(4) Industry Sector

(5) World Trade Organisation Negotiations (WTO)

(6) Cooperation with Development Partners

  • African Uniion Commision (AU)
  • Rationalisation of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs)
  • Cooperation with NEPAD
  • Coopeartion with Economic Commission for Africa
  • ACP-EU/EPA's Negotiations

Transport and Communications

The transport and communications programme has the folowing components:

1. Gradual Harmonisation of Transport and Communications Policies

  • A transport and communications strategy
  • A priority investment plan and a criteria for prioritization of individual projects
  • Designing and setting up a management information system
  • Capacity building

2. Development of Physical Infrastructure to Enhance Regional Economic Integration

  • Mombasa/Nairobi/Addis Ababa Road Corridor Development
  • Djibouti-Ethiopia Railway Development
  • Up-Grading of Dobi-Galafi Road
  • Djibouti-Addis Corrodor Observatory Committee

3. Regional ICT Support Programme

The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Support Programme under the EU funding for Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) covers four regional integration organisations, namely; COMESA, EAC, IOC and IGAD.

The purpose of the programme is to achieve a reduction in the digital divide by removing some of the constraints to the use of information and communications technologies, including those to do with the regulatory environment, poor communications infrastructures, and poor access to information useful to entrepreneurs, and low skills levels.

The main objective of the ICT support programme is to contribute to the overall objectives of the region's integration process, as defined in the ESA RSP and RIP, by providing an effective and efficiently functioning ICT environment whose impact is to reduce the costs of doing business, provide new opportunities for economic activities to take place, especially in the services sectors, and improve the prospects for economic growth and the reduction of poverty. The programme has three major components as follows:

  • The development, and monitoring of implementation, of ICT policy guidelines and strategies, and monitoring of e-readiness status.
  • High-speed Internet Connectivity provided to certain key regional Stakeholders to further reduce costs of doing business in the region; migration to ASYCUDA++ in selected countries.
  • Improved and more efficient access to economic, commercial and policy information of practical use, and the establishment of incubator projects to demonstrate the viability of the Internet, including e-commerce and Improved capacity for entrepreneurs to exploit ICT opportunities and e-commerce techniques.

Health and Social Development


The programme of Health and Social Development was established in 2005 following the decision of the 24th session of IGAD Council of Ministers. While social issues cover a broader sector and include health, education, employment, housing, migration, culture, population and sports, the aims and objectives of the section are:

  1. to promote and facilitate common social policies among member-states in the areas of health, education and employment.
  2. to promote the development of common strategies to combat major diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
  3. to promote cooperation and exchange of best practices and coordination with a view to harmonizing and integrating progressively the educational policy and systems at regional level.
  4. to strengthen the capacities of member states to manage migration flow for greater policy coherence at national and intra-regional levels.

The programme has the following components:

(1) Health

IGAD/World Bank Initiative on HIV/AIDS in the Horn of Africa

  • Regional Mappping Exercise
  • IGAD Health website

Sub-regional Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Framework Strategy in Collaboration with African Union and UNFPA

(2) Education - Cooperation Agreement with UNESCO

(3) Migration Policy Dialogue

(4) Collaboration Between IGAD and AU, IOM, UNFPA, and WHO




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