KIGALI - Rwanda will host the upcoming East African Community (EAC) presidential summit on fast tracking of regional integration scheduled for June 26 to 27. This was revealed by Ambassador Juma Mwapachu, the EAC Secretary General at the closure of the EAC ministers’ retreat that concluded in Kampala last week.
The meeting which was also attended by ministers in charge of infrastructure was aimed at reviewing regional infrastructural development.
“Rwanda will be hosting the Heads of Government Summit that will bring together the presidents of the five partner states in June,” Mwapachu told participants, adding that for a new member state to assume such responsibility showed a high level of commitment.
Both Burundi and Rwanda become full members of the regional bloc, joining Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, the original members.
The Summit will also feature an EAC investment forum to forge a way forward for economic development of EAC partner states.
The Heads of State summit is expected to consider key recommendations from the retreat among which will be amendments to the treaty re-establishing the EAC.
The amendments expected to be considered as recommended by the ministerial retreat include a provision to empower the secretariat to effectively play a leading role in mobilising resources, overseeing and procurement of infrastructural projects and programmes approved for implementation at the regional level by the council, and conceptualization of new ones.
Currently, according to Mwapachu, the regional body has no mandate to mobilize funds for infrastructural development, saying that this is still done at individual state level.
“At the summit, the Heads of State will approve new financial mechanisms which the EAC has to adopt to fund infrastructural projects within the region,” Mwapachu said.
“Presidents will decide on alternative sources of funding for the projects and we also want the EADB (East African Development Bank) to create a Special Purpose Vehicle for the floatation and administration of an East African bond for infrastructural development,” he said.
The EADB is jointly owned by all member states of the East African Community. Other recommendations by the ministerial retreat included the establishment of an East African Infrastructure Agency and the execution of the AfDB-funded East African Integrated Transport Strategy among others.
Ministers also suggested a ten-year road development programme that will connect EAC countries to neighbouring states like Ethiopia, Southern Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.