On Friday, Rwanda President Paul Kagame thanked his regional counterparts for naming him the new chairperson of the East African Community [EAC].
“I thank you for entrusting me with this role. I want to assure you of my commitment as chairperson of the EAC summit,” he said.
He started by thanking His Excellency President John Magufuli and the Government of Tanzania, for the warm hospitality.
He then thanked His Excellency President Museveni, outgoing Chair of the Summit of Heads of State of the East African Community for steering the organisation for the last two years.
“Allow me to take this opportunity to express our solidarity with President Kenyatta and the people of Kenya in the fight against terrorism.”
“It is an honour to serve as Chairperson of our Summit for the next year. I look forward to working together with my fellow leaders to serve the people of East Africa.”
He said the summit comes at an important moment as “we approach the 20th anniversary of the revival of the EAC”.
“We have much to celebrate,” Kagame noted saying it is also a moment to reflect on the meaning and value of this Community which is important “to all of us”.
“It is an opportunity to address whatever challenges exist directly and frankly, so that we can move confidently together into the future.”
Kagame said Africa is moving ahead with deeper integration, as are other Regional Economic Communities which are essential building blocks of continental integration.
“We cannot afford to fall behind particularly when the EAC was starting to make good progress. It is up to us to ensure that this community works for us as it should.”
“Nothing should hold us back from the important business that we have committed to for our collective good, including trade, infrastructure, industrialisation and security.”
As leaders of the Community, he said all therefore need to come together in a spirit of solidarity and unity for the benefit and well-being of the citizens of the region.
“Our Treaty is clear that the East African Community is people-centred. This should inform all our reflections and actions.”
“We will measure success by how easily our people, their goods and capital move within our region and how prosperous in the end they become as a result. This is our task. I know we are equal to it, if we choose to put all our energies into making it happen.”