EAC made inroads in 2014: Chief

The EAC is a regional bloc of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda

EAC made inroads in 2014: Chief
World Bulletin / News Desk
 
 East African Community (EAC) partner states made significant progress during 2014 in terms of integration by ratifying and implementing several protocols and agreements, the regional grouping's secretary-general has said.

"The single customs protocol has been properly implemented in the northern and southern corridors," Richard Sezibera told a Tuesday press conference at the EAC's Arusha headquarters.

The northern corridor runs from the Kenyan port city of Mombasa to Ugandan capital Kampala, before continuing on to Rwandan capital Kigali.

The southern corridor runs from the Tanzanian port city of Dar es Salaam to Burundian capital Bujumbura and Kigali.

Briefing the media on the EAC's achievements in 2014 and the way forward this year, Sezibera said the grouping's five member states had introduced a "single window" at the two ports, the two main entrances to the region.

He added that member states had also introduced an electronic cargo tracking system.

"All documentation and transactions regarding the movement of goods are done at one point in order to reduce business costs and time spent," said Sezibera.

"By implementing the single customs protocol, roadblocks and other non-tariff barriers have been removed or reduced within the entire EAC region," he asserted.

The EAC chief went on to note that, during the 2014/15 financial year, member states had invested in numerous road and rail projects.

"While Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi are investing in central railway corridor projects, which will also connect the region to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya is engaging in a standard gauge rail that will facilitate business between Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan, which has already applied to join the EAC," said Sezibera.

In 2014, he noted, EAC members had started to implement a number of energy and power agreements, one of which saw Kenya sell nearly 30 megawatts of electricity to Rwanda.

"Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi are also implementing power projects through the Rusumo hydro-power project in the Ngara district [of northwestern Tanzania]," said Sezibera.

The EAC, he added, had worked to promote better relations between Tanzania and Rwanda.

"Media fraternity within the EAC region has also played a very important role in harmonizing the situation by positive and sensitive reporting," noted Sezibera, himself a Rwandan national.

Diplomatic relations between Tanzania and Rwanda soured in 2013, with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame refusing to meet face to face at several official EAC functions.

During that period, Tanzania launched an operation against illegal immigrants that saw large numbers of Rwandans – many of whom had lived in the country for decades – being deported back home.

The EAC has also set up a team to monitor general elections in Burundi and Tanzania, slated for June and October respectively.

"The Burundi team will be led by former Tanzanian Prime Minister and Vice-President Joseph Sinde Warioba, who will be assisted by former EAC Secretary-General Amanya Mushega," said Sezibera.

The team will meet, talk and listen to Burundi's key stakeholders to ensure that all Burundians have a single goal before and after the elections – namely, to develop their country.

According to Sezibera, the same will be done during Tanzania's constitutional referendum to be held in April and a general election slated for October.

 

 
Last Mod: 14 Ocak 2015, 11:30
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