The newly appointed Minister for East African Community affairs, Jacqueline Muhongayire plans to embark on ensuring the realisation and implementation of the recently agreed upon regional projects, among her priorities.
Muhongayire, who spoke at a ceremony yesterday where her predecessor Monique Mukaruliza handed over the report detailing projects, achievements and other internal reports for the ministry, in Kigali, yesterday, also said she will work closely with all the stakeholders as a team to ensure the smooth implementation of the decisions that were recently taken by the Presidents of Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda in Kampala.
Last month, the joint meeting between Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta, Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni agreed to construct a railway line that would run through the three East African countries to ease the transportation of imports to and exports from the landlocked countries to the Mombasa port.
The Presidents also agreed to build a joint oil pipeline and a refinery.
Other that were agreed were establishment of an East African Identity Card, regional tourism single visa, a single customs territory, passport as well as fast tracking of the political integration.
Rwanda was given the responsibility of spearheading the establishment of East Africa Identity cards, single tourism visa and single customs territory. Once the single visa is implemented, all international tourists will be allowed to tour all East Africa Community member countries without the need for a national visa, which experts say would help develop the tourism sector.
Uganda was given the responsibility of spearheading the oil refinery, political federation and railway while Kenya was given the responsibility of championing the oil pipeline and electricity programmes.
Muhongayire said more emphasis would also be put on implementation of the EAC common market protocol, customs union as well as single monetary currency, among others.
Mukaruliza assured the new leadership of her support, saying she will continue serving the country wherever she will be.
She highlighted establishment of the national strategy on EAC integration among her achievements.
The new policy focuses on different five key strategic areas, including mainstreaming regional integration into Rwanda’s development, engaging EAC institutions, mitigation and safeguard measures that focus on reducing negative implications of the integration process for Rwanda.
It also oversees other areas like follow-up on EAC decisions and obligations, and institutional framework that coordinate, monitor and evaluate the implementation of EAC commitments in Rwanda.
Former permanent secretary in the ministry who was recently releived of his duties alongside Mukaruliza, Amb. William Kayonga was also present. Also in attendence were Rwandan members of the East African Legislative Assembly, to which Muhongayire was a member until her ministerial appointment.
MINEAC serves as an operational link between the Government of Rwanda and other national stakeholders, and the EAC organs and institutions, regarding integration matters.