Warning: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /usr/www/users/urnnet/a/story.php on line 43 New EAC Boss Pledges to Eliminate Trade Barriers, Push Political Unity :: Uganda Radionetwork
The EAC belongs to all of us - the people of East Africa, and I have taken on the duty to work towards a prosperous, secure and politically united region, that is people -centered and private sector driven -Dr. Mathuki
The new East African Community Secretary General, Peter
Mathuki has set uniting the partner states of the trading bloc as his number one priority at the start of his five-year tenure.
The seasoned business executive who takes over from Ambassador
Liberat Mfumukeko officially starts his duty on Sunday.
Amb Mfumukeko handed over office to him at the EAC Headquarters
in Arusha, Tanzania of Friday, ending a turbulent period that has seen the bloc
arguably more divided than ever before in the 20 years since it was revived.
Mathuki is currently the chief executive officer of the
region’s apex business community umbrella, the East African Business Council, a
position that is believed to have given him advantage over other
Experts and the business community hope that he was the best
placed candidate for the office at this time when trade wars are threatening
the survival of the six-nation bloc.
"The EAC belongs to all of us - the people of East
Africa, and I have taken on the duty to work towards a prosperous, secure and
politically united region, that is people-centered and private sector
driven." Dr. Mathuki said.
Mathuki, a Kenyan national, will be expected to have the
support of the home government, as Kenya also leads the bloc as chair for the next four years.
He also comes in at a time the region is trying to come out of
the socio-economic impacts of the covid-19 pandemic, which impacted movement persons
and trade, the main focus of the integration.
Mathuki noted the political challenges existing in some
countries as well as the disrupted intraregional trade as some of the challenges
that he has to take on.
He however hopes to leverage on the opportunities being
presented by the ICT revolution.
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His predecessor, Amb Mfumukeko highlighted some of the
challenges that he said have limited the progress of the bloc over the last
four years, including delays in harmonizing various laws and policies.
The now former SG calls on Partner States to engage in
citizen awareness campaigns on the EAC integration agenda and its benefits to
the people of the region, and encourage participation of the people.
The Burundi national also noted the delays by partner states
to remit their contributions, which affected the activities of the secretariat,
the remuneration of the staff, among others.
He called on the new administration to also work on staff recruitment
and the alternative funding mechanisms for the secretariat.
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Dr Mathuki, on his part also condemned the persistent
failure by the governments to eliminate non-tariff barriers that he said are an
impediment to integration, trade and development.
He called on the partner states to work towards eliminating
them immediately because his urgent agenda includes economic recovery of the
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This comes at a time that trade between Uganda and Rwanda
remain almost at a halt following the latter’s closure of its border, citing
mistreatment of her nationals and harbouring of dissidents by the Kampala
Trade between Uganda and Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya as well
as Kenya and Tanzania has also been an on-and-off affairs over the last four
years, with the countries using NTBs and tax policies to block imports from