As the East African community heads of state meet in Nairobi this week, Rwandans have no reason to wonder about the benefits of the body.
Among the many benefits Rwanda has achieved from EAC integration is the Single Tourist Visa use and the Single Customs Territory (SCT),” Permanent Secretary, Ministry of East African Community Affair, Safari Innocent said while addressing the media.
The SCT allows Rwandans to cross over to Kenya and Uganda using identity cards which is supporting trade between the countries, and the Single Tourist Visa allows tourists to move within the three countries with payment of 100$ which is supporting the tourism sector not only of the country but also of the region.
According to the ministry of East African Affairs: “About 831,236 and more persons have used ID cards to travel to Uganda and Kenya since the use of IDs as travel documents prevailed and this means that movement of Rwandans across the borders was made easy which is boosting trade,”
The SCT has reduced days spent during transportation of goods from Mombasa port to Kigali, from 21 days to 5 days which has reduced operation costs. The cost of hiring a truck to transport cargo from Mombasa to Kigali has reduced by about $1000 from $5200 in 2010 to $4200 in 2014.
Rwanda has since January 2014- September issued over 1,529 tourist visas which shows a very big achievement for the country under the tourism sector.
Since the establishment of the EAC Common Market Protocol in 2010, Rwanda has collected over $100million from Kenyan and Tanzanian companies that have invested in the country, with over 2500 Rwandans employed by these companies which have reduced unemployment in the country.
According to Safari, 401 companies have been established in Rwanda by other EAC partner states whereas 124 Rwandan companies have been established in EAC partner states.
“Rwanda is again benefiting from the One Area Network with Kenya, Uganda to come in soon which is boosting communication among its people and again boosting trade within the involved countries,” Safari said.
The country hopes to benefit from the recently signed one currency agreement which will see all the EAC member states use one common currency thus boost doing business in the region
From the education side under the EAC integration, Rwandans will be able to study from all the public universities in the region paying same tuition fees like the nationals.
The EAC week focused mainly on the achievements made since Rwanda joined the EAC integration, the available opportunities, ongoing projects, address questions and concerns of stakeholders on EAC integration and highlight the future strategic priorities of the ministry of EAC.
On average only 44% of the population in Rwanda are aware of the EAC agenda and this is why MINEAC has a strategy of moving around Rwanda educating Rwandans more about the EAC agenda.
Source: News of Rwanda
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