Kigali, 6 March 2017
President Kagame has warned that the goals of the region and the continent would not be achieved if African leaders get lost in counterproductive divisions and prioritise narrow interests over the common good. During his address to the special sitting of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) at Parliament today, President Kagame highlighted the importance of working together to advance everybody’s interests:
“There are two parts of this to keep in mind. First, when the good progress made internally by each country is aggregated, the benefits are even better for everybody in our region. Second, there is no disadvantage from minding each other’s business, which simply means taking our respective needs and interests seriously and indeed adopting them as common objectives.”
President Kagame pointed out that as a result of political will in response to the aspirations of citizens, East African members had worked together to significantly deepen regional integration.
“People move more freely than ever before and communication within the region has become more affordable and convenient. It is easier to trade and do business with each other and we are collaborating to expand energy and transportation infrastructure. All this has generated a good deal of excitement among our citizens and in the markets as well. East Africa is increasingly perceived as a region on the move. We have to continue to meet these high expectations. We therefore count on you, in the oversight role of our regional legislature, to help ensure we maintain momentum and stay on course.”
President Kagame said that collective action and harmonised policies would help the region to manage the consequences of economic growth as people worked to stimulate the manufacturing sector.
Giving an update on the recently adopted decision to complete the institutional reform of the African Union and ensure that it is sustainably financed from Africa’s own resources, President Kagame said the main objective was to create an African Union that is fit-for-purpose:
“Our continent must also have a strong and unified voice that clearly communicates the aspirations and positions of Africa on the global stage. The reforms agreed upon will bring us much closer to this goal if they are implemented without delay. Of particular note for the EALA is the decision to direct more responsibility for the implementation of Africa’s common development agenda to the Regional Economic Communities.”
The Fifth Meeting of the Fifth Session of the Third Assembly will sit in Kigali from March 6, 2017 until Thursday, March 16, 2017.