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President Museveni reiterates call for EAC integration

International News

President Museveni reiterates call for EAC integration

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has reiterated the need for the East African Community (EAC) integration. 

According to the President, it’s important for East Africans, especially young people to know why integration is very critical for the region. 

“There are three reasons; number one is do you want prosperity or not? If you say you don’t want prosperity, then there’s no problem, but if you say you want it, the question is where will the prosperity come from?” he inquired. 

President Museveni made the remarks today during the 23rd Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State that took place in Arusha, Tanzania. The summit ran under the theme: “Accelerating Economic Recovery through Climate Action and Enhancing Food Security for Improved Livelihoods”. 

The President explained that prosperity cannot come from aid from foreigners or government handouts, but it comes from a family, company or an individual who produces a good or a service and sells it. 

“You produce a good or a service and somebody buys it. If more people buy from you, then you become prosperous. Therefore, you cannot talk of prosperity in Africa without talking about market integration,” he said. 

“If you want to experiment that, you should go to Latin America. Latin America is richer than the United States in terms of natural resources; if you look at the rivers, the biggest river in the world, the Amazon is located in South America, the forests, agricultural land, and minerals are all there in South America, but you see the misery there. So, what is the problem? Part of the problem is organisation. In the US if you are in New York, you produce a product, it can be sold all the way to California. They have got a market of more than 300 million people,” he noted. 

President Museveni further expounded that the market is a stimulus for wealth creation and prosperity and that is why as leaders, they advocate for the integration of the East African market. 

“A country like Uganda wasted a lot of time fighting and so on,  when we settled down, we started producing and very soon we realised that the internal market was not enough for milk,  maize,  sugar, among other products.”

President Museveni also outlined Strategic security and undugu (brotherhood) as the other reasons why East Africa needs integration. 

“The second reason is strategic security. How can you be secure in the world? The third reason is undugu, we are even lucky that we have Swahili as the East African language, we can all speak Swahili. Therefore, it is easy for us to unite. This is why some of us under the leadership of Mwalimu Nyerere, for the last more than 60 years have been struggling for East African integration.”

The President of Burundi and outgoing chair of EAC, H.E Evariste Ndayishimiye thanked his counterparts for their active participation in the organisedmeetings during his tenure. 

“Without your support, I couldn’t do anything,” he said, before listing some of the milestones the community has achieved during his tenure as the chair of EAC. 

“I thank Your Excellencies for entrusting me with the privilege of presiding over the affairs of our community since July, 2022. It has been a great honour to steer the most vibrant region.”

The President of South Sudan and also the new chair of EAC, H.E Salva Kiir Mayardit said he believes that the candid discussions they held during the summit will have an impact on the affairs of the community. 

“South Sudan strongly believes in the ability of the East African Community to address our common challenges. This is one reason why we joined the East African Community in 2016.”

During the summit, Somalia was admitted as the 8th member of the EAC in accordance with Article 3 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC. 

After the event, President Museveni returned safely to Uganda.

The summit was also attended by the President of Tanzania, H.E Samia Suluhu, the President of Kenya, H.E William Ruto, the President of Somalia, H.E Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the Prime Minister of Rwanda, Dr. Edouard Ngirente, the Vice Prime Minister of DRC and Minister in charge of Defence, Mr. Jean-Pierre Bemba, EAC Secretary General, Hon. Dr. Peter Mathuki, among others.

Sarah K. Biryomumaisho is a Multimedia journalist (Broadcast & Writing) with 11 years of experience. She holds a Diploma in Business Administration from Makerere Business Institute and a Certificate in Media Management from Women in News. She completed a Course in Wikimedia in 2020, making her one of the very few Wikipedia Editors in the country. She also has a certificate in Gender Justice Reporting from The International Women's Media Foundation, IWMF. She has worked with a number of media houses including 6 Radio stations, most recently Galaxy fm 100.2 & Radio 4. She has worked with Andariya Magazine as a writer. Sarah worked as a Digital Communications consultant for the newly revived Uganda Airlines and is also a Digital enthusiast. She owns a Media Organization called TheUgPost that publishes in Uganda and has a global reach. Twitter; https://twitter.com/BiryomumaishoB

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