Member States of the East African Community should fast track and implement the bloc’s protocols to avoid risks of duplication, the former German President, Dr Horst Kohler, advised.
Kohler made the remarks while addressing Rwandan experts and government officials during a meeting on regional integration organised by a German organisation, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS).
“The people should have an understanding of the long term political objectives. Having defined a long term roadmap of integration, it’s now time for implementation, that is the priority; otherwise there is a risk that you may end up on the third stage before implementing the first,” Kohler said.
Kohler added that convergence is one way to keep the bloc together through inter-implementation of programs and protocols.
He noted that the desired integration of the bloc would not be realised without governments commitment towards implementing agreements reached.
Giving the background of his country and the European Union, Kohler, pointed out that there is no doubt Germany’s prosperity, which is relatively good, heavily depends on regional integration. Currently, 60 percent of Germany’s exports go to the European Union.
“Without this integration process, it would not have been possible for us to achieve the prosperity we have today,” he said.
“In my assessment, the regional integration enables the Germans to be surrounded by partners and neighbours who want to work together and cooperate peacefully. We had never been in peace and friendship with all our nine neighbours in Europe before”.
He observed that beyond the pure economics of regional integration in East Africa, the key objective should be regional peace and stability.
“Therefore, I feel that it is absolutely clear and needed that within Rwanda’s six pillars of vision 2020, this regional integration is one of them,” he said.
During the same meeting, several legal experts and government officials spoke of the key challenges and achievement the bloc is facing lately in realising integration.