2014-09-23
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East Africa leaders emphasise security and trade at summit

Mr Kenyatta (L) and Mr Museveni
Mr Kenyatta (L) and Mr Museveni hold talks in Arusha, Tanzania, yesterday. PHOTO BY PPU 


Daily Monitor
Monday, April 29, 2013

East African leaders yesterday sent a strong signal that the region would not tolerate any insecurity or destabilisation that would scare off investors or undermine its development efforts.

They said with major oil and gas discoveries made, the region must get rid of any threats posed to derail its quest to settle down and tap the vast natural resources for development.

“No one should be allowed to destablise the region. Our region is now conducive for investment and general development,” said President Museveni while addressing the 11th extra-ordinary Summit of Heads of State in Arusha, Tanzania.

He said the East Africa region was now dynamic and vibrant in economic terms.

“We have worked tirelessly to maintain a stable macro-economic environment characterised by security of persons, property and our financial systems,” he added.

Warning
However, the Ugandan leader warned that any sign of instability must be fought using all energy to make East Africa more conducive for investments and development.

Newly-elected Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta stressed that stability remained a critical ingredient for the future development and prosperity of the East African Community (EAC) bloc.

He stated that all member countries of the Community must ensure peace and security regained in the region, noting that his country sent forces into war-torn Somalia because it felt terrorism posed a threat to EA.

“Kenya has acted so decisively to combat the scourge of terrorism and restore peace to our neighbour in Somalia. We must continue to combat collectively the threat of terrorism in our region,” Mr Kenyatta said.
Mr Kenyatta, who was attending his first regional leaders’ summit since his election as Kenya’s fourth president last month, said poaching was another major threat to wildlife in EA and the tourism industry.

However, the Kenyan leader said he was not comfortable with a range of barriers which had undermined the free movement of people, goods and services within the region as espoused by various protocols.
He specifically cited the non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and other impediments which, according to him, “have greatly reduced the benefits that we should already be enjoying”.

Mr Kenyatta stated that his government’s priority would be to work closely with the four EAC partner states; Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda “to eliminate those barriers so that we can move freely throughout our region”.

Resolution
The summit resolved that EA bloc should put in place appropriate strategies that will enable it tap its recently-discovered oil and gas reserves as well as abundant mineral resources.

“These resources should help propel East Africa into middle income status and within the next 50 years into the First World category. If we manage them well, these resources will enable us to make this socio-economic transition quickly” President Museveni pointed out.
He added that the people of EA were impatient to move from poverty as well as underdevelopment and take their right place and find their voice in the community of nations.

President Kenyatta stressed that the future of the bloc lay on its ability to trade.

“That is not just a question of lowering tariffs but also of improving our physical capacity to deliver prosperity and links between our two countries.”
Achieving that calls for upgrading of major economic infrastructures such as ports, water ways, rail networks, roads and energy, among others.





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