President Ruto in Uganda for the 60th Independence Day Celebration. Oct 9th, 2022.
President William Ruto has said the East African Community (EAC) will only achieve its potential if it eliminates restrictions at the borders inhibiting free trade and movement of citizens.
President Ruto said a borderless EAC will allow people, goods and services to move across the region unhindered, creating opportunities, wealth and prosperity.
The President said EAC should lead the way towards the realization of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
He said: “It is our place as leaders and citizens of the EAC region for us to work together so that we can transform our borders which today stand out as barriers and convert them to bridges so that goods, services and people can move across East Africa without any obstacles.”
The President spoke at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds in Kampala, Uganda, during the 60th Independence Day celebrations.
President Ruto asked President Yoweri Museveni to take charge and lead the region in ensuring EAC becomes a borderless community.
He said: “You have the age and you have the experience, take the responsibility and lead the charge.”
The Head of State announced that he had directed the Kenyan Trade Cabinet Secretary to work with his Ugandan counterpart in facilitating Uganda to join Kenya in the Cohort of Eight African countries that have opted to trade together under the guided trade initiative of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
President Ruto asked members of the business community to take advantage of the protocols and platforms of the EAC and AcFTA to do business across the region.
President Ruto encourage EAC to venture in joint projects especially in sectors where member states have abundance of raw material but lack the processing manpower
He cited clinker, fertiliser and steel as examples of EAC’s imports of items whose raw materials are readily available in the region.
President Yoweri Museveni congratulated President Ruto for winning in the first round of the last presidential election on August 9
Other heads of State and governments at the Independence fete were Presidents Evariste Ndayashimiye (Burundi and EAC chairman), Salva Kiir Mayardit (South Sudan), Hussein Ali Mwinyi (Zanzibar) and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (Somalia). Others were representatives from Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo
President Salva Kirr appealed to leaders of the East Africa community to join forces and work together for the common good of all Africans.
President Ndayishimiye said it was time the East African community heightened efforts geared towards the integration of the region for the prosperity of the people.
He said: “My dearest wish is to see an integrated East Africa and a United Africa.”
President Mohamud lauded African states involved in the fight against terrorism in the horn of Africa to secure the region.
He said: “I would like to take this opportunity to express our nation’s gratitude for the noble sacrifices of young men and women from Uganda and other troop-contributing countries in our joint fight against International terrorism.”
President Mwinyi asked East African leaders to consider pursuing joint projects to stimulate the regions economic growth.