President Kagame made the call on Wednesday during a virtual meeting of the African Union Bureau with chairs of regional economic communities with at the head, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, who is the current AU chairman.
The Head of State commended President Ramaphosa, for leading the AU Bureau so dynamically during the COVID-19 pandemic and as the chair of the East African Community (EAC), gave an update on what the EAC is doing to fight the virus.
“The focus of attention has been to minimize the cross-border movement of people while ensuring that the free movement of goods is able to continue. The East African Community has also provided mobile testing laboratories for the Member States to use at designated border crossings,” President Kagame said, addressing the meeting.
President Kagame said the East African region has made some good progress but that there is still more work to be done, particularly in the areas of coordination and harmonization, where he called for more efforts.
“A comprehensive regional response plan is still needed, and really owning up fully to this heavy responsibility where we not only do our best in our own countries but share information and harmonize the way we go about business in the whole region,” he noted.
President Kagame once again reminded the continent not to forget the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which is supposed to be fully operationalized in July, although its rollout is likely to be affected by COVID-19.
“As we have responded to COVID-19 effectively, we may also bear in mind the very important objective that lies ahead in implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area, but this will be after we have managed and come out of this situation we find ourselves in. This will be part of normalization as we start allowing business and normal life to go back as it was before,” President Kagame said