President Yoweri Museveni has stressed Uganda’s commitment to ensure the implementation of East African integration and that of Africa to create a big market for the products that will in turn lead to the prosperity of the people.
“Uganda will never be found wanting in the effort of African liberation or integration,” he said.
The President was on Saturday, speaking at the 21st virtual conference of the East African Community Heads of State that ran under the theme ‘East African Community at 20; Deepening integration and Widening Cooperation’
This is the first EAC summit to be held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Participants at the summit included the out-going chairperson of the community President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and the incoming chairperson of EAC President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya.
Other leaders at the virtual conference included the President of Burundi Evariste Ndatishimye and the President of South Sudan Salva Kiir.
The President of the Republic of Tanzania John Pombe Magufuli, was represented at the summit by his Vice President, Samia Suluhu Hassan.
President Museveni said he was happy to see some progress made by East African leaders towards achieving this goal of integration and informed the summit that he had been involved in the struggle for the liberation of Africa for the last 60 years.
He added that the need for integration is driven by the urge to get a bigger market that will absorb products being produced by farmers that are beginning to wake up to embrace commercial farming.
Museveni noted that in Uganda, farmers who were engrossed in subsistence agriculture have now realized the need to go commercial and the production of various products that include sugar, maize and bananas is now in surplus.
“One solution to the market is the regional market of East Africa,” he asserted.
According to Museveni, integration is also necessary for countering security threats in the region citing some elements that are ravaging some parts of the countries in the neighborhood.
“If we don’t act together it can grow. If we act together it will be defeated,” he said.
He explained that the need for integration is for fraternity because the people who are trying to unite are linked in many ways like culture and share the same language like Kiswahili.
President Museveni congratulated the new chairperson of the East African Community Uhuru Kenyatta for taking over the mantle but also applauded the outgoing chairperson, President Paul Kagame for his contribution to the community.
President Uhuru Kenyatta thanked the summit leaders for their trust in chairing the community and strongly pledged his commitment to realize the success of the integration process for the benefit of the people of East Africa.
The outgoing chairman of the community President Paul Kagame thanked member countries for the support accorded to him during his tenure of duty.
Other leaders commended President Kagame for steering the community and realizing numerous achievements.