KIGALI - As part of her plan of action for the period of Rwanda’s chairmanship of the East African Community (EAC), the first ever retreat for all institutions under the community will take place early next month.
Rwanda assumed the rotational chairmanship of the regional bloc last year, barely months after her accession to the five-nation body and subsequently, President Paul Kagame became chairperson of the EAC Summit.
“The retreat will take place for two days between February 9 and 10 and all senior officials from all institutions affiliated to the EAC are expected to attend,” Monique Mukaruliza, the Minister for East African Affairs said.
President Kagame, while opening the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) here in Kigali last year had hinted at Rwanda’s willingness to bring together these institutions in an effort of improving working partnership between the organs.
“I am in consultation with the Secretary General to organize a Strategy Retreat at an opportune time in the near future, which should bring together all the key EAC organs, to exchange views on how to strengthen our resolve and commitment to forging a common purpose…it will be my pleasure to participate in this retreat,” Kagame had said then.
The retreat, according to Mukaruliza, will bring together organs like the council of ministers, the Secretariat, EALA, the East African Court of Justice and other business entities that include the EAC Development Bank.
“The major reason for this retreat is to see how the body can work more efficiently and effectively by having all these organs working towards a common goal,” said Mukaruliza who is also the chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers. She said that the retreat is the first of its kind as organs have been traditionally meeting separately.
“We have been having the Heads of State Retreats and the Council of Ministers has in the past held the event, it is however the first time that all organs are holding it,” she said.
She added that though it might come as one of the recommendations after the retreat, she could not confirm if the retreat will be held annually.
“This is purely our initiative it may be recommended that they are held annually though this is not something I can confirm at the moment,” she said.
Rwanda and Burundi became members of the EAC in 2007 which expanded the bloc to five member states with a population estimated at over 120 million.
The original members are Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.