NYARUGENGE - The Two-day strategy retreat aimed at finding collaborative efforts to empower institutions and organs of the East African Community (EAC) yesterday ended on a high note, with members reaching a common stand agreeing to put ahead the demands of the bloc.
President Paul Kagame, in his closing remarks pledged to forward the recommendations of the working retreat to the Heads of State Summit for endorsement.
The high level meeting held at Kigali Serena Hotel which brought together heads and top officials of all institutions and organs of the bloc was summoned by Kagame, who is also the current Chairman of the Summit, “to find out ways of making these bodies work in a more efficient and effective manner to fuel the integration process.”
Kagame commended participants for the well thought recommendations they came up with which with no doubt will lead the five-State bloc to another level if implemented.
“This is a job well done…I will convey the objectives you have made here, the suggestions ideas and the decisions you have made to the Summit so that we can discuss each one of them thoroughly and act accordingly,” pledged Kagame.
He likened the job done at the retreat as a diagnosis of the body or a medical check of the EAC and the final report would be carried to the final consultants who are the Heads of State for further action.
Kagame however said that some of the recommendations and decisions reached are urgent and will not wait for the Presidents to meet but will require immediate attention from Member States.
He emphasized the idea of making the retreat an annual event on the EAC calendar as it provides an opportunity for members to sit and review the performance of each of the institutions and organs to see where improvements are required and where necessary changes should be made in order to make the integration process run smoothly.
Participants called for more commitment from the member States towards supporting the institutions and organs of the body if the EAC is to be given a face value that goes beyond the borders of individual countries.
It was agreed that ‘Kigali Spirit’ be kept alive and that annual retreats be held to do performance evaluation and set the agenda for EAC institutions and organs.
Initially the EAC held annual retreats by the EAC Heads of States Summit and the Council of Ministers but not for the EAC bodies. Members also agreed to hold regular meetings to review the mandate of institutions while a taskforce to carry forward the recommendations of the retreat will be formed.
Also agreed upon was a plan to expedite and review the modes of funding of the community by addressing the issues of imbalances in contribution from Partner States.
Lack of budgetary commitment is among the major setbacks of the EAC integration process. It was agreed that a regional mechanism for evaluating and implementing decisions by the Council of Ministers’ decision be formed and also establish a mechanism for tracking the implementation of laws passed by EALA through national machinery.