Kigali, 28 October 2013
President Kagame today welcomed to Kigali President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, President Salva Kiir of South Sudan and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya to the 3rd summit to discuss joint integration projects and commended progress in implementation of integration projects involving the four countries.
“We are all motivated by a sense of shared purpose and urgency in obtaining desired results. We would like to see all these projects, including infrastructure initiatives proceed according to time lines. Our people look to us as leaders and there is no doubt that we can make a difference in their lives.”
The four Heads of State witnessed the launch of the Single Customs Territory that will reduce the transport time for goods from Mombasa port to Kigali from 22 days to eight and to Kampala from 18 days to five.
President Kagame said he was pleased by the achievement:
“The single customs territory is a critical milestone that will boost doing business between our contribute to growth of our economies. But we still have a lot of work to do, to get to where we want to be. I look forward to working with my counterparts here to ensure that the other projects come to fruition as soon as possible with benefits for all our citizens.”
President Museveni said the integration projects were about uniting efforts of East Africans to guarantee their sovereignty. He said Ugandans were grateful for the launch of an initiative that addresses their struggle to become prosperous.
President Salva Kiir said Rwanda has been an inspiration for his country and the world as it makes great efforts to overcome its past to build a better future for its people:
“We are moving towards the betterment of the lives of our people and we are honored to be part of these efforts as observers and we are hoping that soon we will be fully fledged members of the East African Community.”
President Kiir announced that his country had decided to waive the visa application requirement for Rwandans, and that Rwandan and other East African passport holders would receive visas at entry points of Southern Sudan.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said Kenya was committed to continuing the integration process and ensuring its success:
“We look forward to November when we break ground for the standard gauge railway line that will connect us to Kampala, Kigali and Juba.We will make it possible for our people to do business without government being an impediment. This summit gives the impetus to help create jobs and opportunity for our people and create greater prosperity. We are very excited about progress made in a short period of time towards achieving the vision of an integrated East African region.”
The visiting Heads of State are scheduled to participate along with President Blaise Compaore of Burkinafaso, President Omar Bongo of Gabon and President IBK of Mali, in the opening ceremony of the Transform Africa Summit also taking place in Kigali.