By Nicholas Wassajja
PRESIDENT Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda on Thursday engaged in panel discussions during the East African Business Summit held in Kigali ranging on various economic and growth topics.
Among others, the conference dedicated time to deliberate on how the private sector can play a bigger role in contributing to regional peace and security where Uhuru and Kagame both agreed that if there is no combined effort and partnerships to resolve the globes main challenges at hand (Ebola and terrorism), then regional growth and development may be hampered.
The summit organized under the theme ‘Positioning East Africa for Inclusive Prosperity in 2020 and Beyond’, brings together participants from governments and the private sector from the East African region focusing on improving partnerships for inclusive growth.
Uhuru said there is no way we can focus on economic growth in the region and the world at large and brush away the fact that the Ebola virus is affecting the East, West Africa and the world at large.
“Today we have a lot of flights and business trips being cancelled which is already affecting our economies. This means we have to lay serious strategies to keep these challenges at bay if we are to realize serious growth.” said Uhuru.
On the other hand, Kagame said the Ebola and terrorism challenges remind the region and world on how inter-connected they are to each other therefore there is need to face them as one society.
Kagame noted that, “as human beings, we just refuse to learn from what is happening to us every day but the truth is that we are being affected and we need to work together on the things that affect us.”
He added that the terrorism threats that make Kenya and Somalia insecure affect the rest of the region and it spreads to the rest of the globe, citing that, “we are in the process of putting together a force that can intervene not only in East Africa but also the rest of the globe.”
He however said that the kind of capacity building that should be focused on this time round should be swelled around the need that arises from time to time to tackle challenges of various sectors.
On regional integration and the obstacles barring the process, they said that despite the good vision and decisions in the exercise, the biggest challenges are translating the vision and would be decisions into reality.
Uhuru however noted that, “it was a worthwhile decision for the member states to meet every two months which avails the opportunity to review and forge way forward on the barriers affecting integration.”
Members of the business community drawn from across the region and East African governments have from converged in Kigali, Rwanda for summit.
Uhuru, Kagame call for combined efforts against Ebola, terrorism