East African leaders agree to boost industrialization
East African Community (EAC) leaders meeting in Arusha Tanzania on Wednesday resolved that all member states should put industrialization on top of their development agenda for regional growth.
Speaking at the summit which was again skipped by the embattled Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, the chairman of the EAC and Tanzanian President John Magufuli said that industries are key to sustainable growth in member states.
President Magufuli said the EAC Secretariat must as well control spending and explore new mechanisms to improve the bloc.
“It is an unfortunate that the region has been mainly a supplier of raw materials and yet we don’t consume what we produce,” Magufuli said at the summit attended by presidents of Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and the host Tanzania.
Burundi’s Vice president Joseph Butore represented Nkurunzinza during the 17th ordinary EAC Heads of State summit held at the Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge on the outskirts of Arusha.
Meanwhile, President Magufuli held private talks with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and agreed to strengthen ties between the two countries by jointly implementing development projects, in areas of infrastructure, trade and job creation.
“Considering the fact that we want to see development between our two countries, my government will be committed to collaborating with Tanzania to end poverty and improve the economies of our countries,” President Kenyatta said in response.
President Magufuli also held talks with Rwandan President Paul Kagame over plans to construct the central railway line to improve trade and movement of people and goods between the two countries.
He said his government plan is to upgrade the railway line into an international standard gauge.
In a related development, while addressing Rwandans and Burundians in the diaspora last Saturday in the American city of Boston, the Rwandan leader touted numerous benefits of regional countries uniting under EAC.
“The bloc boasts of nearly 150 million people (before South Sudan joined), working together under EAC is good for resolving issues, providing market for goods and services and it helps forge a common voice at the international level,” Kagame told the gathering.
President Kagame however, noted that regional integration cannot be successful if individual member states do not fulfil their responsibilities particularly resolving their various issues back home.