EAC integration can only be fostered through concerted efforts to boost prosperity and security » Capital News

NAIROBI, Kenya, April 8 – Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has stressed that East African Community (EAC) integration is still a mirage until member countries are able to secure the growth of prosperity and security.

Museveni noted that while EAC affiliate members have encouraged social partnership, the gap remains to enable full integration.

He cited Uganda as one of the sleeping giants that has much to gain if full integration in terms of prosperity is encouraged.

“The good thing about Africans is that they sleep because they don’t know what they’re missing. Ugandans were sleeping, that’s why they were busy with religion and tribes. Our band came to wake them up, they started producing a bit, they are still producing a bit,” Museveni said.

He was speaking during the formal integration of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) into the East African Community (EAC) following the signing of the accession treaty in Nairobi.

The event was led by President Uhuru Kenyatta and DRC President Felix Tshisekedi and Rwandan Paul Kagame.

The Ugandan President asserted that prosperity in Africa will be propelled by trade not only within the EAC but across the continent.

“When we have a surplus of 2 billion liters of milk, where do you sell it. If you don’t sell it, prosperity won’t increase. We can also trade with large markets outside,” Museveni said.

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Museveni added that the biggest impediment to integration within the EAC is the security threat due to terrorism which has affected different economic recovery sectors with the community. He insisted on the need for a strategic reinforcement of security.

“In Somalia, there is a problem, it affects Kenya. In Congo it affects Uganda and yet we are not working together to solve the problems, yet they are pan-Africanist. Each country wants to solve the problem on its own,” he said.

President Kenyatta said DRC’s membership of the EAC will strengthen the region’s economic muscle and competitiveness on the continent and across the globe.

“To my brother and friend President Tshisekedi and the people of the DRC, we welcome you to the East African Community Customs Union and the East African Community Common Market. ‘East. These two pillars are the pillars of our community and the bedrock on which social, political, commercial, investment and economic interests rest,” President Kenyatta said.

The Head of State said that in the coming days, ministers and technical experts will move quickly to ensure the integration of the DRC into the organs of the EAC – the East African Court of Justice , the East African Legislative Assembly and sectoral committees on key issues such as trade, health, security, finance, education, infrastructure and international cooperation.

President Kenyatta has further stated that they will develop a mechanism for the rapid ratification by the DRC of the admission of the community’s submission to the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement processes.

“As agreed by the EAC Partner States, the EAC Joint Submission will strengthen our voice in the African Continental Free Trade Area,” he said.

The Head of State said that the admission of the DRC into the EAC bloc will expand trade and cooperation in the region.

President Kenyatta pointed out that DRC’s membership puts the region’s population at over 300 million and brings the region’s combined gross domestic product to US$250 billion.

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“The signing of the membership brings the DRC immediately into the domains and provisions of all protocols and regional policies of the East African Communities,” he added.

The Head of State said that this decision will be followed by the immediate removal of all existing non-tariff barriers as well as limitations on the movement of capital, goods, services and people.

“This will eventually lead to an increase in East Africa’s intra-community trade,” he said.

Kenya is the current chairperson of the EAC which includes Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, and is headquartered in Arusha, Tanzania.

DR Congo became the seventh member of the Community on March 29 when the EAC Heads of State, at their 19th Ordinary Summit, admitted Kinshasa on the recommendation of the Council of Ministers.

About Michael G. Walter

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