President Ruto advocates for a borderless EAC, says it will help boost trade
President William Ruto has said the East African Community (EAC) will only achieve its potential if it eliminates restrictions at the borders inhibiting free trade and movement of citizens.
Speaking during Uganda’s 60th Independence Day celebrations in Kampala, Ruto said a borderless EAC will allow people, goods and services to move across the region unhindered, creating opportunities, wealth and prosperity.
The President said EAC should lead the way towards the realisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“It is our place as leaders and citizens of the EAC region for us to work together so that we can transform our borders which today stand out as barriers and convert them to bridges so that goods, services and people can move across East Africa without any impediments,” he said.
President Ruto asked President Yoweri Museveni to take charge and lead the region in ensuring EAC becomes a borderless community.
“You have the age and you have the experience, take the responsibility and lead the charge,” he said.
The Head of State announced that he had directed Trade Cabinet Secretary to work with his Ugandan counterpart in facilitating Uganda to join Kenya in the cohort of eight African countries that have opted to trade together under the guided trade initiative of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
President Ruto asked members of the business community to take advantage of the protocols and platforms of the EAC and AcFTA to do business across the region.
He further encouraged the East African Community to venture in joint projects especially in sectors where member states have abundance of raw material but lack the processing manpower
He cited clinker, fertiliser and steel as examples of EAC’s imports of items whose raw materials are readily available in the region.
Other Heads of State and governments at the independence fete were Presidents Evariste Ndayashimiye (Burundi and EAC chairman), Salva Kiir Mayardit (South Sudan), Hussein Ali Mwinyi (Zanzibar) and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (Somalia). Others were representatives from Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.