PUBLISHED ON June 8th, 2023

Heads of state summit adopts report to negotiate Somalia into the EAC

In addition, they agreed on the establishment of a civilian head of mission to coordinate all political-related matters of the East African Regional Force (EACRF).

The East African heads of state have directed the EAC Secretariat and the council to commence negotiations with Somalia with immediate effect and report to the next ordinary summit of the EAC heads of state.

According to a communique on the 21st Extra-Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State meeting in Bujumbura, Burundi, dated May 31, 2023, the heads of state deliberated on and adopted the report of the verification of the application of the Federal Republic of Somalia to join the EAC.

The communique noted that Somalia had earlier circulated a report to the EAC partner states.

Summit resolutions

During the summit, the heads of state accepted a request from President Museveni to hold a follow-up meeting in Nairobi to be hosted by Kenya’s President Willian Ruto.

The summit appreciated the financial contributions of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and South Sudan for their commitment to contribute towards peace and security.

The summit also directed the EAC secretary general to intensify efforts to mobilize resources from the regional and international partners to support the EAC-Led Nairobi Process.

In addition, the summit urged all the partners to support initiatives including the demobilisation of combatants of armed groups and their reinsertion and reintegration into civilian groups.

DRC Conflict

The heads of state reiterated that the security in the eastern region of DRC can only be sustainably resolved through political process and dialogue among the parties and urged the Government of DRC to work with the facilitator to finalise the appropriate dates for resumption of the inter-Congolese dialogue.

In addition, they agreed on the establishment of a civilian head of mission to coordinate all political-related matters of the East African Regional Force (EACRF).

Ugandan appointed deputy EAC secretary General

During the summit deliberations, Uganda’s Annette Ssemuwemba Mutaawe was appointed and sworn in as the new EAC deputy secretary general – customs, trade, and monetary affairs.

Mutaawe is a Ugandan trade expert, who also previously served as a core member of the delivery team responsible for the implementation of the EAC Customs Union and as the principal customs officer responsible for tariffs, valuation, and rules of origin at the EAC secretariat.

Before she was nominated DSG designate, Mutaawe was serving as the deputy executive director at the executive secretariat of the enhanced integrated framework at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

At the WTO, Mutaawe served as the chief operating officer, responsible for the design and implementation of projects and programs to support less developed countries’ trade-related institutional and productive capacity development.

Before that, she was the chief strategy and results officer and a member of the senior leadership team at TradeMark East Africa.

She also served as a director for trade at Private Sector Foundation Uganda.

Trade experts welcome the appointment.

The appointment of Mutaawe, Stephen Asiimwe, the executive director, of the private sector foundation Uganda said is a good gesture for Uganda.

Asiimwe said that Uganda has been struggling with trade issues, especially around non-tariff barriers, and hopes that Mutaawe will represent Uganda well at the secretariat.

“Currently we are still suffering with South Sudan as most of the tracks carrying goods are stacked at the borders. We hope she will articulately deliberate such matters well for a smooth trade environment among the EAC member states,” he said.

Issa Ssekitto, of Kampala City Traders Association-KACITA, said they are expectant of her and await to see how she performs.

“We have a lot of pending issues around selective implementation of trade protocols agreed upon by member countries, we need her to act professionally in this area,” Ssekitto said.

Other Appointments

The summit also appointed other officials including, Andrea Aguer Ariik Malueth from the Republic of South Sudan who was appointed EAC Deputy Secretary General, Infrastructure, Productive, Social and Political sectors.

Justice Kayembe Kasanda Ignace Rene, from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) took office as a Judge of the East African Court of Justice in the First Instance Division.

Justice Omar Othman Makungu from the United Republic of Tanzania was appointed Judge of the EACJ Appellate Division with effect from 20th June 2023.

Justice Makungu will be replacing Lady Justice Sauda Mjasiri.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TradeMark Africa.