Rwanda pledges more allegiance to regional integration
Rwanda President Paul Kagame has said that Rwanda is committed to supporting the deepening of integration of the East African Community (EAC) to achieve economic and social prosperity of the citizens within the region.
He made the remarks on Monday while addressing a Special Sitting of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) which starts a two-week session at the Rwandan Parliamentary buildings in the capital Kigali.
The EALA is the law-making organ of the EAC established under Article 9 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC. Being the legislative arm of the community, members are sworn into five-year terms.
The regional parliament is responsible for, among other things, approving budgets of the EAC and debating audit reports.
"East Africa is increasingly perceived as a region on the move. We have to continue to meet these high expectations. It is easier to trade and do business with each other and we are collaborating to expand energy and transportation infrastructure," said Kagame.
He noted that citizens of the EAC member countries move more freely than ever before and communication within the region has become more affordable and convenient.
"Much of this progress was the result of political will, responding to the needs and aspirations of our citizens. Rwanda's commitment to the East African Community ten years after we acceded to the treaty is stronger than ever. Integration is not a zero-sum game. When we work together, we are all better off," Rwanda president said.
Kagame also called upon the deepening of Africa integration saying that the continent must have a strong and unified voice that communicates the aspirations and positions of Africa on the global stage.
This will be the Third Assembly's last sitting in Kigali as its term ends in June when a new Assembly [the Fourth Assembly] is expected to be ushered in.
According to Dan Kidega, speaker of EALA, strong support from the leadership of EAC member states will play a key role towards advancing regional integration.
"Deepened EAC agenda will be achieved through regional free trade areas, progressing towards customs union, a common market, monetary union and political federation. We are grateful for member countries that have strongly supported this journey to achieve socio-economic prosperity of the citizens, "he explained.
EAC is made up of six countries including Burundi, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda.