ask http://cosmopolitan.taconeras.net/wp-admin/includes/misc.php sans-serif; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>Presidents Yoweri Museveni Paul Kagame (Rwanda) Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania) and Pierre Nkurunziza (Burundi) appended their signatures on the protocol on Saturday afternoon.
The protocol will be implemented over a ten-year period, with a single currency to be launched at the last stage which will also culminate into the integration of member states’ financial markets.
Kikwete meeting Uhuru at Munyonyo on Saturday
The creation of the monetary union is the last phase in the economic integration process.
The initial phase included the adoption of the customs union that deals with trade barriers and common market.
In his maiden speech as head of the East African Community (EAC), President Uhuru reaffirmed his government’s commitment to the EAC dream.
“Be assured of our unconditional commitment to continue to accord priority to the agenda of the EAC,” said Uhuru.
He further pointed out that joint efforts between leaders of the region would lead to prosperity and success of their people.
The president also took the opportunity to urge an end to the consistent rumour mongering, a remark many believed was aimed at accentuation fears about reports that Tanzania was being technically isolated in the infrastructural projects across the northern corridor.
“We are united, we speak with one voice and walk together towards a better East Africa for all,” said Uhuru.
EAC leaders in an informal meeting at Munyonyo today
He called for massive awareness campaigns to sensitise the public about the EAC activities especially the Monetary Union, adding, the hope of EAC region’s prosperity and economic development hinges on soundness of the integration.
Uhuru emphasized the urgency of fixing the transport sector to boost movement of goods and services across the region.
“Despite implementing the customs union,” said Uhuru, “numerous non-tariff barriers continue to hold back trade and increase business costs.”
He praised President Museveni for steering the EAC to greater heights during the last year, adding the Community’s engines were fired up for enormous, ambitious and transformative initiatives for the region.
He called for investments in effective roads, railways, aviation, ports, ICT and energy infrastructure to support the vigorous enterprises and the private sector.
“We in Kenya are fully cognizant of the tremendous benefits we stand to reap from this integration vehicle,” he added.
“Now is the time to liberate our people, businesses and capital to deliver prosperity. That is the true promise of integration.”
Rwanda which was supposed to take over the EAC chair said last week it would be busy with the genocide memorial activities.
Earlier, EAC General Secretary, Dr Richard Sezibera whipped up nationalistic feelings, saying “Our community is not only vibrant but also resilient.”
He praised business personalities, EAC governments and civil society for playing a pivotal in ensuring the non tariff barriers are eliminated.
Outgoing EAC chairman, President Museveni used the platform to lash at western powers which reportedly attempted to influence the outcome of the last Kenya Presidential election.
“I fully congratulate the people of Kenya for fighting against hegemony and for the way they voted in face of arrogance,” said Museveni who also emphasized need to eliminate non-trade barriers saying they are obstacles to development.
He also praised Kenya for “renewing a new force against imperialism,” a statement possibly referring to the country’s resistance against plans by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute President Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto for the 2007 post-election violence.
At the function described as a “historic moment” for East Africa, Lady Justice Monica Mugenyi took a judicial oath for the EAC Court of Justice.
Museveni assured that the economic integration would swiftly lead to Africa’s development if properly carried out.