President Paul Kagame has called upon EAC member states to work together to realize the benefits that come with integration, noting that Rwanda has been committed to the East African Community and ten years after acceding to the treaty is stronger than ever. He commended EAC members for working together and called for further deepening of regional integration.
Kagame has made the remarks today as he officially opened the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) which will be sitting in Rwanda up to 17th March 2017.
The event has been attended by various leaders including the EAC Secretary General Liberat Mfumukeko among other top officials from the government of Rwanda.
“Much of this progress was the result of political will, responding to the needs and aspirations of our citizens. People move more freely than ever before and communication within the region has become more affordable and convenient. It is easier to trade and do business with each other and we are collaborating to expand energy and transportation infrastructure,” he said.
Kagame has said that East Africa is increasingly perceived as a region on the move and called upon member states to keep the pace to meet the high expectations.
He talked of the recently approved reforms that are expected to boost integration.
“We urgently need an African Union that is fit-for-purpose. Our continent must have a strong and unified voice that communicates the aspirations and positions of Africa on the global stage,” he said.
“Our goals will not be attained if we get lost in counterproductive divisions and prioritize narrow interests over common good. It is really about working together to advance everybody’s interests. When the good progress made internally by each country is aggregated, the benefits are even better for everybody. There is no disadvantage from taking our respective needs and interests seriously and adopting them as common objectives,” he added.
Kagame urged member states to empower ‘our institutions to do what they are supposed to do in support of our collective prosperity.’
He said that a great job awaits EALA parliamentarians during their sitting in Rwanda because they will discuss broader issues regarding the entire region including gender equality, protecting children from violence and reproductive health.
Kagame commended them for the draft law regarding the ban of polyethylene bags in the region saying it has been possible in Rwanda.
The speaker of EALA, Daniel Fred Kidega has said that time has come for EAC to maximize the use of its potential to address challenges.