KIGALI - Lack of security in the region is one of the major threats to increased foreign trade and investment.
Prime Minister Bernard Makuza expressed the sentiment yesterday while officially opening a meeting of the Council of Ministers responsible for police issues, from the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (EAPCCO).
“Our region’s lack of security is antagonising foreign trade and investment. Criminality has developed into an international phenomenon like globalisation. This also creates a big challenge for us to fight its threat to peace,” Makuza said.
“Given the nature and magnitude of this trans-border criminality, governments should work jointly to contain it because we can no longer afford to face our enemies individually”.
Wars, particularly on the African continent, he observed, have led to hostility and violence leading to a loss of innocent lives, destruction of property and national infrastructure.
“Africa and Eastern Africa in particular, have been left with countless numbers of orphans, poverty and poor infrastructure. Our countries share similar problems in our common endeavours.
We all lack skilled manpower, and modern equipment to cope with new techniques of criminal offences. It is only through joint and collaborative efforts that we shall successfully fight our common enemy,” he added.
The Council of Ministers meeting is part of the EAPCCO conference which kicked off last Saturday in Kigali.
“Your decision to discuss crime issues in our region brings, once again, a sense of hope and confidence to our people whose lives and safety of property depend on your effectiveness,” the Prime Minister stated.
He urged them to also consider possibilities of establishing an African Police Organisation that would also see the creation of the same body within the African Union.
He pledged Rwanda’s continued support to achieve the region’s goal.
Elizabeth Kuteesa, the Assistant Director for Africa, Interpol General Secretariat, promised Interpol’s support to increase the exchange of intelligence, build regional police capacity, and in the process of regional cooperation with other international and regional organisations, to support policing issues.
She urged them to work with Interpol to further investigate and “apprehend criminal networks involved in transnational crimes, including those responsible for illicit financing and facilitation”.
Kuteesa also appealed to EAPCCO member countries to support the Interpol Travel Document (ITD) initiative.
Interpol established a temporary travel document to provide timely response to Interpol member countries and to reduce obstacles that hinder the timely delivery of support.