Arusha, 29 April 2009
• Your Excellency, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda;
• Your Excellency Mwai Kibaki, President of the Republic of Kenya;
• Your Excellency, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania;
• Your Excellency, Pierre Nkurunziza, President of the Republic of Burundi;
• Honourable Ministers, Distinguished Members of the Council of Ministers;
• The Secretary General of the East African Community, Ambassador Juma Mwapachu;
• Your Lordships, Distinguished Judge President and Judges of the East African Court of Justice;
• Rt. Honourable Speaker and Honourable Members of the East African Legislative Assembly;
• Excellencies the Ambassadors and High Commissioners;
• Distinguished Heads of EAC Institutions;
• Distinguished Invited Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I thank and congratulate you – Heads of State of the East African Community’s sister Republics, for your relentless efforts towards attaining the status of our East African region thus far.
I am pleased to note that since our last Summit meeting in Kampala, Uganda last October, our Community has been engaged in a number of notable activities – some of which I wish to highlight.
First among these is the process of finalizing the Common Market Negotiations.
Much work has been done by the High Level Taskforce culminating in the Special Ministerial Meeting that was held in Kampala on 9th April 2009 and in the Meeting of our Attorneys General and Ministers of Justice held a few days ago here in Arusha.
May I take this opportunity to thank and commend our Senior Officials and other stakeholders for their exemplary work during the negotiations of this Protocol.
A key task of this Summit has been to examine the document and take a decision on this important matter.
Secondly, several meetings involving the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the Southern African Development Community and the East African Community have taken place, following our decision at the Tripartite Summit held in Kampala in October last year that our three Regional Economic Communities move towards the establishment of a Free Trade Area.
For example, a High Level Aid for Trade North-South Corridor Conference was held in Lusaka from the sixth to the seventh of April 2009.
The Conference was very successful – and we thank His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni for representing the Chair of the East African Summit at the Conference.
I could not personally attend the conference.
We are very pleased that the East African Community has played a leading role in charting out the roadmap to realize the commendable goal of a Free Trade Area.
Thirdly, we have continued to negotiate the Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union under the umbrella of the East African Community.
Progress has been made although there are few areas of sensitivity and concern that need to be further analyzed and concluded as soon as possible.
Ladies and Gentlemen;
In the past three months, I have been privileged to represent the East African Community at two Business and Investment Conferences – the first one was in New Delhi, India in January at the invitation of the Government of India and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
We reached out to the Indian business community to enhance trade and investment between India and our region.
My main message was that our region offers considerable investment opportunities for Indian investors.
I am pleased to mention that our region had an impressive delegation and staged an excellent Exhibition at the conference showcasing what global investors can expect from East Africa.
I should also note that since that event, Indian business delegations have visited different parts of our region; the Secretary General of our Community has also been able to follow up on my visit to India, resulting in plans to stage an East African Community-India trade and Investment Summit this October in Mumbai.
The other Conference I attended was hosted by the City of London Corporation last month and was exclusively organized for the East African Region.
The meeting was also attended by President Yoweri Museveni, the Burundi 1st Vice President, Dr. Sahinguvu and the President of Zanzibar, Amani Abeid Karume who represented President Jakaya Kikwete.
President Mwai Kibaki was represented by the Minister for Trade, Hon. Amos Kimunya.
The London Conference provided a forum to clarify the state of political and economic affairs in East Africa and to project the prospects for profitable returns on investment in our region at a time when the investment climate in advanced economies is dampened.
In our modest contribution to making the East African Community institutions more effective and efficient, we held a retreat in Kigali this past February, bringing together key individuals from all the Organs and Institutions of the EAC.
The primary aim of the Retreat was to promote a frank conversation on how our Organs and Institutions can best foster mutual working relations.
This effort should contribute to the institutionalization of a better collaborative inter-organ and organ-institution coordination system.
Finally, I was privileged to present the Annual State of East African Community Address at the East African Legislative Assembly and note some of the current issues and activities.
The Assembly has since considered some of the matters that were highlighted, a process that should not only enhance their oversight role, but also foster a robust transmission channel to East African citizens in the sense that these discussions reach more people in different parts of our region.
This evolving tradition of Heads of State addressing the Assembly constitutes an excellent exercise that I believe should be maintained because it allows us to reflect widely on our accomplishments and challenges.
This has been a highly fruitful Heads of State Summit and I look forward to the implementation of the outcomes of our deliberations.
I thank you for your kind attention.