EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY
SPEECH BY AMB. LIBERAT MFUMUKEKO
20ORDINARY SUMMIT OF THE EAC HEADS OF STATE,
ARUSHA INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE, ARUSHA, TANZANIA,
- H.E. President Yoweri Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda and Chairperson of the Summit of EAC Heads of State;
- H.E. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli, President of the United Republic of Tanzania
- H.E. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda
- H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya
- H.E. Gaston Sindimwo, 1st Vice President of the Republic of Burundi, representing H.E Pierre Nkurunziza
- Hon. Paul Mayom Akec, Minister of Trade, Industry and EAC Affairs, Republic of South Sudan, representing H.E Salva Kiir Mayardit
- The Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers
- Honourable Ministers
- Heads of Regional Economic Communities
- Members of the Diplomatic Community
- Representatives of Development Partners
- The Chairman of the EABC and other Representatives of the Private Sector
- Heads of EAC Organs and Institutions
- Members of the East African Legislative Assembly
- EAC Executive Staff
- EAC Members of Staff
Let me begin by welcoming you all to the city of Arusha, the Headquarters of the East African Community. We are glad to have you here today for the 20th Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State.
2019 is a significant year, as the Community will be marking its 20th Anniversary in November. We will be marking two decades in which the EAC has grown in leaps and bounds. Since its establishment almost 20 years ago, the EAC has registered great achievements.
Allow me to highlight a few of the milestones achieved in the last two (2) years.
In the Infrastructure sector, the Partner States continued implementing the EAC priority infrastructure projects. Here in Arusha, we are enjoying the Arusha-Tengeru Dual Carriageway and witnessing the near completion of the Arusha Bypass Road. It is important to note that both roads are part of the completed Multinational Arusha – Holili/Taveta – Voi Road, and the Arusha – Namanga – Athi River Road, both of which the EAC provided technical support.
In addition, the EAC mobilized funds and coordinated the feasibility studies and design for two (2) key links for the Republics of Rwanda and Burundi to the Central Corridor. One project is the 250Km long Nyakanzi – Kasulu – Manyovu road in Tanzania linking to the 78Km long Rumonge – Bujumbura road in Burundi. The other is the 92Km long Lusahunga – Rusumo Road in Tanzania linking to the 70Km long Kayonza – Kigali road in Rwanda.
The EAC Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Project (LVWATSAN II) has implemented various interventions aimed at developing and/or improving water supply and sanitation services for 15 secondary towns in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. These projects, most of which were commissioned in 2018, were designed to provide reliable portable water to the populations until 2035.
In an effort to heighten education in the region, the Heads of State declared the EAC a Common Higher Education Area in 2017. This has facilitated the recognition of academic certificates and the transfer of credits from higher education institutions across the region. University students in the region are now enjoying their ability to transfer credits across universities and study anywhere within the region. In addition, scholarship programmes have been availed to several students to study at various Centers of Excellence. Regional integration has been further enhanced through mobility of academic Staff in which University Lecturers are able to undertake academic activities such as teaching and research across the region.
The EAC has also implemented various health projects in the region. These include equipping the Partner States with Mobile Laboratories to better facilitate rapid identification of infectious disease outbreaks, as well as, several immunization programs throughout EAC in which millions of children have received life-saving vaccines.
In an effort to further improve the lives of the citizenry, the EAC has established Centers of Excellence for Higher Medical Education, Health Services and Research. These Centers of Excellence are: The East Africa Kidney Institute in Kenya; The East Africa Heart Institute in Tanzania; The East Africa Cancer Institute in Uganda; The East Africa Nutritional Sciences Institute in Burundi; The East Africa Biomedical Engineering Institute in Rwanda; and The EAC Regional Center of Excellence for Vaccines, Immunization and Health Supply Chain Management in Rwanda.
Under the Customs Union Pillar, the implementation of the Single Customs Territory is in progress and coverage of goods cleared has been expanded to include all intra-regional trade within the Community. This has resulted in the drastic reduction of the period taken to clear goods from over 20 days to three (3) or four (4) days on the Central Corridor; and from 21 days to four (4) days from Mombasa to Kampala and from 18 days to six (6) days to Kigali, on the Northern Corridor. It is also worth noting that out of the 15 Borders earmarked to operate as One Stop Border Posts, 13 have been completed and are now operational. The One Stop Border Posts have reduced transit costs incurred in cross border movement by combining the activities of both country’s border organizations and agencies at a single location in each direction.
On the Common Market, the EAC Partner States enacted new laws to conform to the Protocol. The Republics of Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda allow their respective citizens to enter and exit their territories using National IDs. It is our hope that soon, all EAC citizens will be able to use their national IDs as an official travel document within the region. In addition, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania have also commenced issuance of the International East African e-Passport. With the East African e-Passport, we are now being recognized as East Africans all over the world. Further Mutual Recognition Agreements for Engineers; Architects; Accountants; and Veterinary Officers have been signed and the process is underway for Land Surveyors and Advocates. These Agreements allow professionals in these categories to practice anywhere within the region as each Partner State recognizes one another’s conformity assessments.
Under the Monetary Union Pillar, programmes for harmonization of Capital Markets and Payment Systems are ongoing. The Community has harmonized critical policies necessary for a sustainable Monetary Union and remains firmly on course towards attaining a single currency by the year 2024. The East African Legislative Assembly recently enacted the East African Monetary Institute Bill, 2018 and the East African Statistics Bureau Bill, 2018.
There is also considerable progress in the Political Federation Pillar and the EAC has set the stage for the commencement of developing a Constitution for the Political Confederation, as a transitional model of the East African Political Federation. EAC Partner States’ Armed Forces, Police and Civilian Components have established a Combined Joint Task Force that plans and undertakes joint operations. Such joint operations incorporate Peace Support Operations, Counter Terrorism, Counter Piracy and Disaster Management as well as tackle other complex security challenges in the region and beyond. Several Safety Monitoring Centres have also been established on Lake Victoria.
Since 2016, the EAC has mobilized over US$ 360 million from various Development Partners. These include USAID, the European Union, the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations, the Federal Republic of Germany, the People’s Republic of China, Japan, Denmark, Switzerland and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa among many others. These funds are all allotted to support various development projects and programmes in the Community.
In addition to the above, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and African Development Fund (ADF) approved US$ 2.5 Billion for the implementation of new and ongoing priority infrastructure projects in the EAC region up to the year 2022.
The significant strides made in resource mobilization are indicators of our Development Partners’ confidence in us. We look forward to mobilizing more resources for development projects in our region in 2019.
I wish to inform you that the EAC received a Clean Audit Report for all EAC Organs and Institutions for the Financial Year 2017/2018.
The EAC Secretariat has also operationalized a Project Coordination Unit to better facilitate the coordination of projects. The Unit serves as a one-stop desk for information on EAC projects both internally and externally.
The EAC Secretariat has continued implementing minimal reforms aimed at managing our travel budget with the view of ensuring efficiency. To this end, the EAC travel budget has reduced significantly as we are now using Video Conference facilities as well as hosting more meeting at the EAC Headquarters. We shall continue implementing reforms until we conform to internationally accepted standards.
Despite these significant achievements, it is ironic that most East Africans cannot associate themselves with the Community. To address this challenge, EAC Organs and Institutions have embarked on various outreach programmes to educate East Africans on the integration process and its role in their lives.
Going forward, the EAC will work on building stronger relationships with the Private Sector, both within the region and globally. We acknowledge the private sector has a vital role in taking our integration agenda to higher heights through investments in critical industrial and service sectors, creation of a competitive advantage for the region as well as creation of jobs.
We have worked on a detailed roadmap to integrate the Republic of South Sudan in the EAC projects and programmes, which is currently under implementation. Mainstreaming of the Republic of South Sudan needs to be fast tracked to be at the same level of integration with the other Partner States especially in the implementation of the Customs Union and Common Market Protocols.
As we mark 20 years of regional integration, our achievements cannot be downplayed. The East African Community of today, is not what it was 20 years ago in terms of development. Our countries are more vibrant, with increased trade, improved infrastructure and an overall positive trend in socioeconomic development. The EAC is on the global spotlight as the most promising Regional Economic Community.
I wish to conclude by thanking you, Your Excellencies, for your commitment, zeal and determination to make the EAC dream a reality.
I also wish to acknowledge the EAC Policy Organs for their guidance.
I thank you all for your attention and wish the 20th Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State fruitful deliberations!