A Regional Economic Agency: What Prospects and What Possibilities?

by Tom Dooley
(Nairobi)

The States of the HoA jointly agreed to established IGAD -


They committed themselves to entrust certain responsibilities to IGAD on their behalf; they also gave IGAD some powers and some objectives.

What has IGAD done with these responsibilities that have been set to it?

The answer to this question is not easy to find objectively - because there is a lack of transparency in IGAD. There is limited reporting by IGAD of its work, its financial statements are not issued and its internal governance is poor.

IGAD has published some information on its own operations and this appears in a series of 'Strategy Papers'. However, as there are several strategies, each seemingly superseding the previous one - this means that IGAD remains a rather strange body in the HoA.

Why strange?

Because it has not managed to look at itself clearly and tried to decide if its role is in intervening politically, or in acting as an independent, honest broker in the regional politics. It has confused its role.

As an honest broker in the regional issues, it could gain greater respect. It could act impartially and try to bring together the conflicted parties and could provide a place for honest negotiations.

Should IGAD therefore have a political view?

From the above, in order for it to be relevant, it should keep off the regional politics and focus on those aspects of the region where cooperation between the countries will really provide some benefits.

These aspects will have to be in economic cooperation among the countries, in promoting a better understanding of people who live in the bordering areas, where shortage of water, lack of resources means that the population always suffer hunger, shortage of health care and child health problems, as well as a plethora of others.

But can IGAD do any of the above?

The answer as of today has to be No! Why? See above - no measurable internal sound governance, no accountability that is clear and no transparency...

The international community should beware! IGAD would have to transform itself, as it constantly promising to do and do it openly and clearly.

Insha' Allah alone will not do.


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A Regional Economic Agency: What Prospects and What Possibilities?

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