Last week Rwanda hosted two big functions concurrently – the East African Investment Conference, and the East African Community Heads of State ninth summit.
No doubt these were two important events that could have grabbed just as much attention had each one run separately. This is because however much the media tried to highlight the business in either, there was a sense of getting overwhelmed with activities, intertwined as they were.
There was even a sense of feeling it was one function.
Now that the hustle is over, we can take stock. One of the most poignant highlights was when President Paul Kagame, in one of his speeches, said that a researcher commissioned by his office had counted over 40 roadblocks between Kigali and Mombasa Port, that causing exceeding delays and increases in product costs.
Ever the practical person, President Kagame’s proposal cuts to the heart of the matter. It is easy to implement his proposition that roadblocks be removed from the main roads so as to ease doing business and make it cheaper to boot.
The attainment of the East African Community objectives can indeed be achieved much faster through such ideas that need very little or no finances to implement, even as we wait for those projects that need heavy finances to get off the ground, like infrastructure.
It should be remembered that Rwanda was the first country in the community to moot the idea of phasing out work permits for community members.
Indeed, though Rwanda is a new entrant into the regional bloc, it is making a great impact as a team player and serious member that wants not to take its presence there for granted. And now that President Kagame is the current Chairman of the EAC, we expect development-laden times ahead for East Africa.