President Kagame today officially opened the 14th Annual Conference and General Meeting of the East African Law Society which kicked off today at the Kigali Serena Hotel. In his speech, President Kagame spoke of the urgent need to create a world-class economic legal infrastructure and welcomed the opportunity provided by the meeting to discuss ways to advance the status of East Africa through strengthening the legal environment of justice for all, and promoting greater trade and investment.

President Kagame said that more efforts were required in order for East Africa to achieve an excellent legal system and pointed to current challenges including a serious lack of qualified legal practitioners in some countries; existence of both common law and civil law system that require harmonization and alignment; professional practice across the region, particularly in the context of the common market protocol; as well as the need to raise the standards of the public services across the region.

President Kagame noted that as East Africa embarked on a common market, the region had to compete globally for investment in the current financial crisis and pointed out that “… the winners are those nations and regions that over and above higher returns, provide the necessary legal assurance to safeguard investment.” He called on the East African Law Society to take a leading role in enhancing East Africa’s attractiveness as a destination for global trade and investment  in order to improve the lives of the region’s 130 million citizens.