President Paul Kagame has called for a quick fixing of the East African Community bloc saying, “We urgently need to get our house in order.”
Kagame also chair of the East African Community made the remarks while officially opening the one-day Strategic Retreat of the Council of Ministers and Heads of Organs and Institutions of the East African Community.
The retreat is being hosted in Kigali, Rwanda at a time the renewed EAC is approaching its 20th anniversary.
According to Kagame, the EAC needs urgent fixing both in terms of ownership, which includes paying respective dues as well as enhancing transparency and accountability in the management of the institution.
He noted that this is the only way to maintain integrity internally as well as credibility with citizens and partner institutions.
“It will be very difficult to achieve even the more simple goals we have set if we don’t get this right,” he told the retreat.
“We have to urgently unblock obstacles in ongoing projects and to allow ourselves to finish the good work we have started together.”
Kagame said that citizens within the EAC bloc directly benefit from a Single Customs Territory and EAC Common Higher Education.
These are examples of interventions that directly benefit all our people and create popular momentum for deeper phases of our integration.
The Rwandan leader says he is optimistic about the larger African Continental Free Trade Area.
He noted that Africa is starting to come together in a positive and productive way, “that will create unprecedented opportunities for our people.”
“There is nothing wrong with being ambitious. There is so much more to do, but we cannot start to tackle the bigger, more complex processes when we are still struggling with basic issues.”
For the EAC, Kagame said it has what it takes to actually lead this process, “Our goal is to be a dynamic, prosperous, people-centered, private-sector led region. We have to facilitate by listening to what the business community and ordinary citizens are telling us, and find a way to meet their expectations.”
The EAC chairperson calls for working together to spur innovation create employment and generate the wealth needed to transform our East African Community.