- President Uhuru Kenyatta has achieved a lot in his tenure as the Chair of the East African Community, EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki has said
- Mathuki pointed out that other key achievements of President Kenyatta as the EAC chair include the admission of DR Congo into the community
- Mathuki said President Kenyatta’s tenure as the EAC chair also saw the implementation of the common external tariff that discouraged the importation of goods that could be produced locally
President Uhuru Kenyatta has achieved a lot in his tenure as the Chair of the East African Community, EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki has said.
Speaking ahead of the 22nd Ordinary Summit of the East African Community (EAC) Heads of State in Arusha, Tanzania, Mathuki pointed out that other key achievements of President Kenyatta as the EAC chair include the admission of DR Congo into the community.
“DRC is a full member and the seventh partner state of the EAC. That was achieved during President Kenyatta’s tenure as EAC’s chair. It is through his guidance, support and vision that we could bring DRC into EAC,” Mathuki said.
Mathuki noted that the coming onboard of DRC, with a population of 100 million, has expanded the regional economic bloc’s market by raising its population to over 300 million people.
“This is also a huge milestone achieved under President Kenyatta’s guidance as the summit chair. And that is one of the things that we will sit, as a community, and say President Kenyatta has done for the community,” the EAC Secretary General said.
Mathuki said President Kenyatta’s tenure as the EAC chair also saw the implementation of the common external tariff that discouraged the importation of goods that could be produced locally.
He added that during President Kenyatta’s first and second tenure, the EAC resolved 245 non-tariff barriers that allowed the movement of goods with ease from one partner state to another.
“That is now contributing to the growth of the intra-EAC trade. Looking at the intra-EAC trade at the time he came, it was about 13%. It has increased to 15% during President Kenyatta’s tenure.
“We have removed some internal tariffs on locally produced goods within the region. That has now moved trade growth to US$6 billion from US$4 billion,” he said.
Other achievements during President Kenyatta’s tenure at the helm of the EAC include the implementation of the single customs territory with 13 one-stop border posts within East Africa and the conclusion of the Mutual Recognition Agreement for several professions, including accountants, engineers, architects and veterinary officers.
According to the EAC Secretary General, President Kenyatta has raised the bar such that whoever will take over from him as the chair of the regional economic bloc will have to do a lot to match his standards.
Mathuki spoke ahead of the summit where heads of state in the EAC will, among other things, agree on a roadmap for the full realisation of the Common Market.
The Summit, whose theme is ‘EAC: Deepening Integration, Widening Cooperation’, will be preceded by a high-level retreat on the EAC Common Market, where the East African leaders will take stock of the progress of implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol.
President Kenyatta convenes the retreat in his capacity as the chair of the EAC.
Mathuki said Kenyatta and his region counterparts would officially open the 42.4 km Arusha Bypass road on Friday morning before chairing the EAC summit.
“The EAC bypass road is one of the roads sponsored by the EAC and connects Arusha to the Namanga road, all the way into Kenya. This road will reduce the number of days people take transporting goods into Kenya and Tanzania.
“For business, the time taken on the road is very critical, and that is why they will open that road, whose design and even securing of the funds for the construction were done during the tenure of President Kenyatta as the chair of EAC,” Dr Mathuki said.