PUBLISHED ON November 20th, 2014

The ministry of EAC to begin an exercise of fast tracking the integration process

Kigali: The Ministry of East African Community (MINEAC) started a weeklong campaign and activities to fast track the integration process.

According to a statement from the government, the activities focus on key achievements in the seven years since Rwanda joined the EAC, available opportunities, on-going projects and addressing questions and concerns of stakeholders on EAC(East African Community) Integration.

The activities will also highlight future strategic priorities as well as awareness campaign on how Rwandans can benefit from the community, all under the theme “EAC Regional Integration: Benefit & Opportunities to update Rwandan citizens on 7 years of Rwanda in EAC”.

Speaking to media about the East African Business Summit held in Kigali in October 2014, President Paul Kagame said that Rwanda has greatly benefited from the EAC.

“Benefits from EAC Integration have multiplied in the seven years since Rwanda joined the EAC. Rwanda has benefited from EAC’s large market, challenges have been shared and addressed together, benefits have come from many sources and Rwanda has been much better in the last seven years”, he said.

The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of East African Community, Innocent Safari, highlighted numerous benefits Rwanda enjoyed, saying that,

“About $100 million has been invested in the country by investors from other partner states in the seven years since Rwanda joined the EAC. The use of Identity Cards for travel has eased free movements of people, goods and services between Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya.”

Other successful projects that the East African Community embarked on include the use of one single tourist visa between Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda, the use of Electronic Single Window System and a trade facilitation initiative that reduced the time it takes to clear goods at customs by 40 per cent of 21 days it used to take.

As part of EAC integration, Rwanda began implementing a Customs Union on July 1, 2009 and the Common Market that involves free movement of goods, persons, labour, and capital and right to establishment, which came into force on 1 July 2010.

On-going projects that are in the EAC include the establishment of a single customs territory, defence and security cooperation, air space management and connectivity, as well as the One Network area. The Standard Gauge Railway project, a railway that will join South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo is also underway.

The EAC as a region is the fastest growing region in Sub-Saharan Africa with an average GDP growth of 5.8% over the last decade. The EAC has a total population of 143.5 million and a total combined GDP of US $99.8 billion.

Rwanda joined the East Africa Community in 2007 with the aim to widen and deepen cooperation between partner states in political, economic, social and cultural fields. The EAC Community envisions achieving full integration through the implementation of four stages of integration; customs union established in 2005; common market in 2010; monetary union protocol signed on November 2013 and the political federation.

EAC Week is being in every partner state to raise awareness on EAC integration and the benefits that have come with joining together to achieve shared prosperity.

Source: Rwanda News Agency

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