President Mwai Kibaki makes state of EAC address / Tells EAC to focus on enhancing infrastructure and full implementation of the Common Market Protocol

ARUSHA, Tanzania, January 25, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Chairperson of the Summit of EAC Heads of State and President of Kenya, H.E. Dr. Mwai Kibaki, today delivered the State of EAC Address at the Parliament of Uganda, Kampala, Uganda.

In the State of EAC Address, President Kibaki urged Partner States to fully implement the Common Market Protocol to ensure citizens of the region reap all benefits.

“We should also fast track the transposition of national laws that contradict the Common Market spirit to enable its successful implementation. “, the Head of State said.

“Trade in the region has increased from 2$bn in 2005 to 4$bn in 2010, and that the East African people are continuing to expect the benefits of the community. Therefore, we need to hasten the pace of the integration,” President Kibaki remarked.

President Kibaki called for the diversification of the region’s economies noting the EAC should constantly mechanise agriculture, industrialise and enhance tourism and the ICT among other growth sectors.

“While it is commendable that tourist arrivals to our region have now surpassed the 4 million mark, this number is still small, indeed smaller than what individual countries such as South Africa and Egypt receive” the President noted.

“We must, therefore, invest in tourism promotion in innovative ways including through projects that will, for example, offer tourists to our region opportunities to visit circuits that will take them to different parts of East Africa,” he said.

The President made the address to Members of the EALA who are in Kampala for the 3rd Meeting of the 5th session. In attendance were EAC officials, senior government officials, Members from the Parliament of Uganda, representatives of the diplomatic corps and other stakeholders.

The President nodded the considerable progress made towards upgrade of the regional road network projects and called for the upgrade and modernization of the EAC rail networks to spur further progress. President Kibaki lamented about the shortage of energy which continued to hamper progress and development in the region. “The shortfall in the supply of power remains a major constraint to economic development in the EAC economies”, President Kibaki said.

“Several projects aimed at building a reliable power supply capacity across the region are currently underway. These include the Bujagali Hydro Power Project here in Uganda as well as the expansion of geothermal power generation at Olkaria in Kenya”, the President said.

The State of EAC Address was preceded by remarks from the Speaker of the EALA, Rt.Hon. Abdirahin H. Abdi. In his remarks, Hon Abdi congratulated President Kibaki for steering the coalition government noting that the world had plenty to learn from Kenya’s success story.

The Speaker hailed President Kibaki for his outstanding leadership contribution to Kenya and the EAC. The EALA Speaker emphasized that the Assembly fully supported the initiative for peace in the entire region and observed that Kenya’s on-going operation against the Al –Shabab in Somalia served as a testimony for peace in the entire region.

Rt. Hon Abdi lauded the President for his contribution to the constitutional dispensation in Kenya. “Kenya has enjoyed and still continues to enjoy your rich constitutional wisdom. Few of us know that you and a few others drafted the document which was to become the first constitution of Kenya. You also presided over the recent new Constitution which is now a beacon of hope for the country,” the Speaker said.

The Speaker urged citizens of the region to elect visionary and credible leaders when the elections are held.

“Your Excellency, the people of Kenya will soon go into general elections to choose their leaders. We wish them peaceful elections and to assure you that people of East Africa are with them. The same goes to all East Africans interested in contesting as Members of EALA,” Rt. Hon Abdi said in reference to the elections that Partner States shall soon be holding to elect EALA representatives.

In his remarks, Hon Mike Sebalu hailed President Kibaki for his worthy contribution to the region.

” We congratulate the great son of the region for his achievements par excellence in the academic and political arena. Dr. Kibaki has indeed been a shining star at the national, regional and even international level”, Hon Sebalu said, adding that the Kenyan Head of State was focused and a pillar of integration.

Hon Sebalu praised the Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda Rt. Hon Rebecca Kadaga for her cordiality and support to EALA.

Meanwhile, the Assembly is expected to continue with its business next Monday, January 31, 2012. Next week the Assembly shall deliberate on the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) Bill, EAC Transboundary Eco-Systems Bill and the EAC Polythene Materials Control Bill. The Assembly will also pose questions to the Council of Ministers, debate and adopt various Committee Reports, Motions and Resolutions.

SOURCE 

East African Community (EAC)

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