KIGALI - A two-day retreat of the East African Community (EAC), the first of its kind, kicks off today at Serena Hotel in Kigali.
The retreat which has brought together heads of organs that form the East African Community; the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), the EAC Court of Justice, the East African Development Bank (EADB), the Lake Victoria Basin Commission among others is aimed at working out ways of streamlining the activities of these institutions in order to quicken the integration process.
Speaking to The New Times yesterday, Rwanda’s Minister for East African Affairs, Monique Mukaruliza, said that the current EAC Chair took the initiative to organise the retreat as an opportunity for partner States to do a self assessment on how far the integration process has reached.
“We will take time to review ourselves and find out why the integration process is slow and what the causes are during this working retreat. We will also review the mandate of each of the organs of the EAC as well as the challenges they face and how we can work together to get viable solutions,” said Mukaruliza.
President Paul Kagame, the current Chairperson of the bloc is expected to chair the retreat which will also attract the EAC Secretary General, Juma Mwapachu, EALA Speaker Abdi Haither Abdirahin, the President of the EAC Court of Justice and members of the EAC Council of Ministers.
Others include heads of the EAC Inter University Council, LVBC, Lake Victoria Fisheries Council, EADB, East African Business Council and members of the coordination committee.
Rwanda is the chair under the rotational system of the chairmanship of the regional bloc since last year.
Under his reign, Kagame who took over barely months after Rwanda and Burundi joined the five-nation bloc, pledged his commitment towards bringing together the institutions of the EAC in an effort to forge a working partnership between them.
The retreat is the first to bring together heads of EAC institutions but the bloc has been having annual retreats for Heads of State and the Council of Ministers .