EAC TANZANIA MUSEVENI
President Yoweri Museveni is in the Northern Tanzania City of Arusha, for the 20th Ordinary Summit of the East African Community (EAC) Heads of State.
The regional body brings together Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The 2-day Summit is taking place at the Arusha Conference Centre and is expected to review the progress report on the verification exercise on the admission of Somalia to the EAC and the implementation status of the protocols on the establishment of the EAC Customs Union and of the common market, among others.
The Summit is running under the theme ‘Enhancing the Economic, Social and Political Integration of the East African Community.’
President Museveni, who arrived in Arusha this morning, is expected to deliver a statement in his capacity as outgoing Chairperson of the regional body.
At the Arusha summit, Museveni is also expected to handover chairmanship of the EAC to John Magufuli, the President of Tanzania.
Early this week, EAC ministers from the five member states held preliminary talks on trade and development, ahead of the 20th Summit of the EAC Heads of State slated for Friday.
They also discussed: infrastructure, political matters, customs and trade, finance and administration.
Today’s summit comes after two similar meetings scheduled for November 30 and December 27 were called off at the last minute, with fears of tension in the regional bloc.
Recently, foreign affairs minister, Sam Kutesa, said that during the summit, Uganda will present a report on the milestones achieved during the tenure of President Museveni as chairperson.
“We are ready for the ordinary EAC summit and as Uganda, we hope to present a report on what we have achieved during the time that President Museveni has been chairperson,” Kutesa said.
The council of EAC ministers will be chaired by Kirunda Kivejinja, the 2nd deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Affairs.
Last year the EAC Heads of State summit was cancelled due to lack of quorum after Burundi failed to make it to Arusha.
This time, the summit has been convened when some member states are heavily complaining about sinister motives engineered by neighbours.
However, officials from the foreign affairs ministry said all these emerging sticky issues will be discussed at the Arusha summit and a way forward will be reached so that the development agenda within the East African Community takes shape.
The EAC bloc has planned over 200 infrastructure projects, which if implemented will inter-connect all member states, for easy transport and trade.
Key among these projects is the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), hydropower, oil and gas, refinery, oil pipeline, the road and bridge network and water transport system within the region.
The EAC member states are also rooting for the Lamu Port, South Sudan, Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) multi-billion project that will connect East Africa to the Horn of Africa.
The last summit convened and adjourned in December was poised to discuss several issues, including the status of ratification of international protocols.
The summit was also meant to resolve longstanding non-tariff barriers and assess progress report on the adoption of a political confederation.