President Paul Kagame on Friday took over the chairmanship of EAC Summit of Heads of State from his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni who has led the summit since May 2017, replacing Tanzanian President John Magufuli.
President Kagame received the EAC Summit Chairmanship as he attended the 20th Ordinary Summit of the East African Community Heads of State, in Arusha, Tanzania.
Accepting the EAC Summit Chairmanship, President Kagame assured the attendees of his commitment as the new chairperson of the EAC summit.
“It is an honor to serve as Chairperson of our Summit for the next year. I look forward to working together with my fellow leaders to serve the people of East Africa,” Kagame said.
He remarked that the summit comes at an important moment as EAC approaches it’s the 20th anniversary of its revival. “We have much to celebrate. But it is also a moment to reflect on the meaning and value of this Community which is important to all of us.”
President Kagame added that it is an opportunity to address whatever challenges exist directly and frankly, so to move confidently into the future EAC.
The summit had been postponed twice after Burundi’s last-minute boycott of the planned November meet which was rescheduled to December but failed to take place. Burundi wanted the EAC leaders to first address differences pitting his country and Rwanda. Relations between the two neighbors have soured since the failed Bujumbura coup in 2015 threatening to tear apart the Community.
With President Kagame’s assurance, the relationship between the two countries might change for the better.
“We cannot afford to fall behind particularly when the EAC was starting to make good progress. It is up to us to ensure that this community works for us as it should,” He said
President Kagame further observed that as leaders of the community, EAC needs to come together in a spirit of solidarity and unity for the benefit and well-being of the citizens of the region.
“We will measure success by how easily our people, their goods and capital move within our region & how prosperous in the end they become as a result. This is our task. I know we are equal to it if we choose to put all our energies into making it happen.” Kagame concluded.
Four of six East African Community heads of state attended the meeting. President John Magufuli was joined by his counterparts Museveni of Uganda, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta and President Paul Kagame.