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Jaluo Kama Jaluo rade gi joluo wete gi… East African, international, news, politics, culture, business & economy, environment, arts, are discussed by contributors in Africa and world wide. Writers call for social justice, better governance, quality investment.

30Apr/101

EAST AFRICA COMMUNITY: MUSEVENI URGES MEMBER STATES TO BUILD GOOD ROADS IN ORDER TO EXPEDITE THE ECONOMIC GROWTH OF THE REGION

Writes Leo Odera Omolo

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has asked leaders of the East African Community (EAC) states to consider energy and infrastructure as the number one priority in transforming the region.

Museveni’s call came after Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda ratified the common market protocol. Burundi is yet to approve it.

The protocol will permit free movement of labour, capital and services.

Addressing over 2,000 business people at the 3rd East African Investment Conference at the Speke Resort Munyonyo yesterday, Museveni said if the region sorts out its electricity and railway system, the annual growth rate can improve by about 13%. Currently the region’s growth rate is at 7%.

“In the last forty years, there has been no railway built in Africa except the Tazara in Tanzania. Awareness of the crucial role played by electricity and the railway is the core of the renaissance of Africa,” Museveni said.

The region needs about $74b to revive the roads, railway and water systems.

This money is almost equal to the region’s GDP, which stands at about $75b.

Museveni urged the partner states to unite and rebuild the region’s infrastructure.

Earlier, Tanzanian minister of the EAC and chairperson of the Council of Ministers, Dr. Diodorus Kamala, had said financing the railway and road master plan remained a challenge, and private-public partnership was the best option.

Museveni said the engineering department of the Ugandan army would kick-start the rebuilding of the railway network.

“When we go to the private sector, they quote exorbitant prices. Why can’t we rebuild the railways ourselves?” Museveni asked.

According to experts, the absence of a vibrant railway system in Africa has been one of the greatest economic tragedies of the continent.

The strength of East Africa is the abundance of high value mineral deposits like those of gold, copper and oil. These require cheap and abundant electricity and the railway for processing and transporting, Museveni said.

“Let us deal with the real issues which are keeping this region in poverty,” he advised.

Commenting on the growth of the region, Uganda’s minister of the EAC Eriya Kategaya, said foreign direct investments to the EAC had increased from $693m in 2002 to $1.7b in 2008.

“The most rewarding achievement is the intra-East Africa trade,” he added

Ends
leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

28Apr/101

East African Community: EAC to upgrade new passports for the citizens of member states later this year

Writes Leo Odera Omolo In Kisumu City

The current holders of the East African passports have good news to smile about. Plans are a foot envisaged to upgrade these passports, which were previously meant to enable ease border crossings, to be upgraded to the internally accepted travelling documents.

The plans are in advance stage to enable holders of these passports, which were mainly to enable them travel within the EAC member states of Kenya, Tanzania , Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi to be upgraded to the international standards of travelling documents.

This will in future, allow citizens to travel around the world. The residents, however, will have to wait for some necessary logistics such as phasing out non-digital passports and re-printing of the new one with electronic and computerized security marks etc.

The new East African Community passport will comply with the International Civil Aviation Organization [ICAO] document 9303 "the national readable zone”.

Previous details of the applicant for the EAC passport now be legible through a computer from the signature and photographs will be acquired and digitally stored in a database.

The old model of the EA passport introduced nearly a decade ago by Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda before the joining of the Rwanda and Burundi of the EAC two years ago, has the holder data typewritten or hand written on it. It was meant to ease border crossings within only the three sister countries.

But the document has not been so popular to with the nationals of these countries as the traditional passport issued by the Departments of Immigrations in the respective states.

It ended up being used mainly by ordinary people such as traders and students travelling across the region with the government officials and business people shunning it.

The EAC Secretary General Ambassador Juma V Mwapachu was quoted this week by the EASTAFRICAN as saying that the EA traditional passport had been accepted internally, but they were not used internationally When they were first issued, the EAC passports were valid only within the

They would eventually replace the national passports. However, the proposal is unlikely to materialize in the near future as a lot of groundwork has to be done including phasing out the national passports of the individual member states and the printing of the new passports with security marks.

Unlike the EA passports which the applicant has to pay only USED 10 to acquire and only valid for five years, national passports of the partner states are valid for ten years.

However, the regional are yet to gain popularity, especially among Tanzanians compared with Kenyans and Ugandans, according to a survey carried out by a local media house.

Meanwhile the issuance of the old EA passport has been suspended indefinitely to allow for the upgrading work to be complete..

TH newly upgraded passports will be issued only and strictly to the citizens of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.

Ends

leooderaomlo@yahoo.com

23Apr/100

Uganda: Investment conference to be held next week

CLOSE TO 2,000 DELEGATES ARE EXPECTED TO ATTEND INVESTORS CONFERENCE IN UGANDA NEXT WEEK

Writes Leo Odera Omolo in Kisumu City

Experts will speak on infrastructure, public-private partnership
Uganda will host the third session of the East African Community (EAC) Investment Conference from April 27 - 30.

In an interview with David Mugabe and Isaac Omoding, Dr. Maggie Kigozi, the executive director of Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), details the expected outcome and benefits for Uganda as host and for EAC as a region.

Maggie Kigozi

Maggie Kigozi talks about UIA performance

Below are excerpts
How many and what category of people are coming for the EAC conference?
We are targeting about 2,000 business people.

We have participants from the five EAC countries. As the host, we have 500 people and we expect 250 business people from the other countries.

We have approached every country’s chamber of commerce, manufacturers associations and all our partners in investment promotion agencies.

We will also have the five presidents and EAC ministers under their chair, Tanzania.

As host, are there any special surprises for our guests coming for the conference?

We have opportunities in the mining and petroleum sector which we did not have before.

Uganda is blessed. We have the people and the market. Our people are high-end and educated.

I meet an investor in petroleum twice a week from all over the world.

They want to see how they can get a foot in.

Unfortunately, we have halted further exploration for the time being.

We need to see how the refinery will work and how the regulation, policy and the relation between the Government and private sector will work. So for now we are focusing on five and value addition.

As EAC, we have the common market coming up. We have plans for the regional rail, roads and sharing energy. These are some of the new additions.

What can the EAC say has been the quantifiable gains out of the past two conferences?

One thing we do in these conferences is we meet a lot of investors.

Star Communications, the fellows providing digital TV, I met them in Rwanda and now they are in the four EAC countries. I am happy ours is now up and running.

KCB was able to meet all the countries at a single conference. There is a hotelier I met in Kenya who is quite advanced in putting three-star hotels around the country and he is here already.

We also learn about one another. We have experts coming in and speaking on infrastructure, public-private partnership and policy issues at EAC and government level.

As a host what will Uganda benefit?
First of all we are bringing our hotel industry about 1,500 guests, which is a big plus.

But these are not just guests, they are investors.

Getting investors to see Uganda is one of the most difficult things for us as an investment promotion agency. We have people who ask questions like where will I sleep, is there food?

So to bring them here and they see the beautiful Munyonyo is a step forward. I think the most interesting thing about Uganda is that people do not sleep.

The night life is terrific, at 11 pm, Abaita ababiri (Entebbe Road) is booming. We are also providing them with tourism opportunities to go and visit the gorillas and other national parks.

What are the criteria for winning the EA investor of the year award?

This year we have not had enough time to study the companies thoroughly so we are just looking at companies that do businesses regionally.

It is an advantage if the firm has invested in more than one EA country. If you have invested in all five, you have an added advantage.

Then we look at companies that export within the region and outside the region and how the companies stand in the community.

Any lessons learned from the last conference?

Yes, we used to bring the heads of state at the beginning but they require a lot of attention and, therefore, we don’t focus on investors. So this time they are coming in at the end, apart from the host President who will open the conference.

The last conference was in Nairobi and the venue was a bit small. All the Kenyans wanted to attend. Here we have a nice big room where we shall fit 2,000 people at Speke Resort Munyonyo. We have also tried to get the invitations in earlier.

Ever since the UIA was incorporated, how much investment value has it attracted?

As an agency we have licensed about 5,000 projects. The ones that came recently are in the process of setting up but the older ones are running.

That translates to how many jobs?
The accumulated planned investment is about $12b.

The jobs are 440,000. For each job in a company, there are at least eight other job linkages either as suppliers, farmers, raw materials, transport or packaging.

What is the difference between planned and actual investments?

Planned investment is what investors target when they are coming here.

For some of them the plan goes completely out of hand when they reach here. A good example is MTN. We had them licensed with $20m.

Now they are well over $600m. Then there are those that do not find the market good so they abandon the market. You remember AES power for various reasons was not able to take off.

How far have plans gone in promoting the region as a single destination?
Actually for investment we started long time ago.

We formed the association of investment agencies of East Africa in 2001. We have since developed a guide for the countries.

The private sector look at it suspiciously as competition or that people will take their market but for us it is very clear that investors want a big market.

Since the EAC put in place a secretariat we now have an office since about four years ago and the first thing we did was to launch the EA investment conference.

As a country, how are we positioning to sell the country and its diversity?
We have an exhibition. We have about 20 square meters for each country.

We have UWA and UTB and UEPB plus a number of our private companies. Even within the presentations we have discussions on mining, tourism and we are updating the tourism videos.

Most of the investments are located in central, how are you going to change this to see that this spreads out?

That was the truth a few years ago because the infrastructure and the markets were here.

But I am happy to report that that is changing. We have in place UIA district focal point officers in all the districts and they have worked on what the districts have to offer.

It is very difficult to promote somebody who is negative about themselves, we have this problem with Jinja which improves slightly and then goes down to zero.

We are putting up 22 economic zones.
We have a couple of successes, last week we launched Mount Meru in Lira (contract farming for sunflower) where there is Mukwano and the shea nut butter project.

What is the status of Namanve?
Namanve is ready.

We have allocated land to 230 investors. In the logistics park we have about 70 companies so in total we have about 300 companies.

Since the last competitive report was released, what changes have you made?

We are working on the registration of companies and we have a World Bank funded project.

We have got a new board, but the legislation is still slow. It is a huge problem and it will not go overnight.

Temporarily for us, we have a one stop shop. The financial sector is booming.
We have the best labour laws, we are number 11 in the world.

Talking about commercial laws, the investment code was supposed to be amended, how far have you gone with the process?

We have worked on it and it has passed through cabinet. But it has to be pushed further through Parliament. It is now in the Ministry of Finance.

We need to update 44 commercial laws that are in the pipeline. We have managed to pass about five.

But even the ones we have passed, the regulation is not in place and it does not help to have a modern law but it cannot be regulated. That is an area where we have been very weak in.

What challenges do you face in promoting investment?

Infrastructure, access to finance, lack of land and the bureaucracy within government, these are the key ones.

The old laws do not allow for efficiency. For immigration as an example, the board has got to sit to issue a work permit, now how often does a board sit? This means I have to wait for my work permit.

There is lack of understanding of the private sector within government. They are slow, speed is not of essence meanwhile the investor is losing money.

Ends

21Apr/100

Kenya: Families sent fleeing their homes as landslide hit Rachuonyo South district

Reports Leo Odera Omolo, In Kisumu City.

SCORES of people were rendered homeless following a major landslide which erupted at Got Ranyinya in West Kamagak Location,in Oyugis Division Rachuonyo South district.

The crack occurred following incessant heavy down pour which had pounded the area for the last forty eight hours. Villagers were left in a great panick fearing more landslides. More rains were expected last night.

The landslide destroyed close to 40 acres of food crops. It caused cracks in close to 50 houses forcing the villagers to flee their homes. On the top of the small Got Ranyinya hills, there were deep cracks forming gullies, some of which are as deep as 30 feet.

The area District Commissioner Mr. Jophn Ole Kepas, appealed to the resident and those living in the nearby villages to move to much safer areas. He said his office has already been in contact with the Ministry of Special Programmes and asked them to come to the rescue of the families, which were forced out of their homes.

Some of the villagers told this writer that they were contemplating renting houses at the nearby small Uhuru Market. But they really don’t have money for paying rents. Most of the occupants of the close to 30 houses destroyed have moved out and were reported taking shelters with relatives and friends in the nearby villages.

The villagers said they experienced the first major land slide in the area, which occurred in 1998 during the El-Nino rains. The government had promised to look for the alternative land, but so far nothing has been done. The situation, they said is life threatening. The whole hill has been tilted and standing hanging conspicuously in the air as if it is just about to sink into the underground. The is a sad experience never witnessed before, they said.

The area, which has two permanent water sources, Soko Kodhungo and Soko Komiti, suffered a landslide in 1998. But the latest occurrence has sent villagers panicking as far as three kilometers away.

The inhabitants of the area, most of them members of the Kachieng’, Konyango and Wasweta sub-clans, said they have nowhere to go. Though the incident is a natural calamity, they would like the government to provide for them an alternative land to settle them once and for all.

“The landslide caused big cracks all over the Hill as you can see, but some of us have nowhere to go. There is nothing we can do, and we only hope that our government this time around will do something in our favor, said one resident. The villagers, however, expressed their appreciation to the area DC, Mr Ole Kepas, for his prompt response to their appeal for assistance.

Some of the affected families have moved to markets places like in Oyugis Town and Ober Market. Others moved to the shopping centre at Gamba (Rioma Market) for their safety.

ENDS

leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

19Apr/102

Kenya and Uganda: Ugandan government has refuted Kenya Foreign Minister Wetangula’s story on Migingo

Writes Leo Odera Omolo In Kisumu City.

Kenya’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Moses Wetangula, last week treated his countrymen to one of the worse hoaxes ever witnessed in the recent past.

The Minister on Wednesday last week made an impromptu announcement while speaking in the Western Kenya Town of Kakamega to the effect that the dispute between Kenya and Uganda over the tiny and rocky one acre fishing Migingo Island has been resolved amicably.

The announcement caused the over 2000 Kenyan fishermen, fish traders and kiosk owners there, to go into ecstasy of beer drinking sprees, dances, and all sort of celebrations.

As all the celebration was going for the whole day and night, the more than 30 Uganda marine police men posted to the island to provide security, and an official from the Uganda Revenue Authority, watched in disbelief.

On Friday last week, the first reaction of the Ugandan government left Kenyan fishermen and residents of the island not only puzzled but in a state of shock.

Kampala for the first time reacted to Minister Wetangula’s premature announcement and made it publicly clear that there was no such agreement.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ugandan Foreign Affairs Ministry, James Mugume, asserted that perhaps the Kenyan Minister was misquoted by the local media. He told the government owned NEWVISION that the report attributed to Minister Wetangula is misleading because only last week Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila visited Uganda, and had a lengthy discussion with President Museveni over wide ranging important issues affecting the two neighboring countries.

During the visit the Ugandan authorities agree with Kenya that the survey to determine the boundaries and ownership of Migingo Island must be re-done.

“The two governments had agreed that the survey must be re-done, starting at River Sio to Llemba Islands, and going all the way to the Pyramid islands’, Mugume said. He added that the Ugandans are still waiting for their counterparts in Kenya to agree when the re-survey work would commence.

The PS said the Minister could have been misquoted by the Kenyan media. "There are many islands in Lake Victoria and quite often journalists misquote leaders when they talk of an island other than Migingo,” he said, adding that President Museven himself was once misquoted when he was talking about another island not Migingo.

Mugume's statement was the first reaction from a senior Ugandan government official ever since Minister Wetangula made the announcement last week.

A dispute flared up in February last year when Kenyan fishermen operating in Migingo Island were kicked out by the Ugandan security personnel. URA kicked them out after refusing to pay annual fees or taxes each for their operations in what was then deemed as Ugandan territorial waters. The Ugandan Revenue authorities were asking for Kshs 50,000 for each boat owners per annum. Close to 400 Kenyan was expelled. The few Kenyan policemen stationed on the Island were disarmed and taken into custody by their Ugandan counterparts for the best part of the day, but were later released and expelled from the island. Ugandan authorities hosted their national flag on the island virtually taking over its administration control.

Kenyan authorities protested and sent several high level ministerial delegations to Kampala in vain attempts to have the matter resolved diplomatically. It was deemed as threatening to the East African integration under the auspice of the East African Community {EAC}.

Ugandan authorities proposed that the matter be resolved by a survey, using the boundaries set by the Kenya Colony and Protectorate in 1927. The two countries agree on a budget of Kshs 140 million to be shared equally for the survey work. It was later agreed that the fishermen from both sides of the disputed boundaries be allowed to continue conducting business until the boundary issue was resolved by the joint team of surveyor from both countries.

It was further agreed that Uganda withdrew 48 marine police officers it had deployed and stationed on the Island. It was further agreed that the Ugandan national flag be pulled down while the exercise of survey work is going on.

Presidents Mwai Kibaki and President Yoweri Museveni agree that the matter be resolved amicably and peacefully.

Wetangula statement came in the wake of a claim made by a British researcher John Donaldson of the UK based Boundaries Research Unit, which made it quite clear that Migingo is in Kenya.

Ugandan security personnel, previously numbering about 22, but who have of late been beefed up to 32. They remained non-committal, saying they were not about to leave unless they received order and instructions from their superiors in Kampala.

The Friday news came after an incident in which two Kenyan fishermen were thrown into the lake by their Ugandan counterparts for unclear reasons raising tensions on the island.

Ends

leooderaoimolo@yahoo.com

16Apr/100

EAST AFRICA COMMUNITY, PRESS RELEASE: EAC PARTNER STATES INTER-STATE SECURITY AGENCIES’ MEETING OPENS IN BURUNDI WITH VERY HIGH TURN OUT

From: Aileen Mallya (forwarded by Leo Odera Omolo)

Date: Wednesday, April 14, 2010, 3:17 AM

Meeting to consider progress reports on conclusions of the EAC Peace and Security Protocol and the EAC Early Warning Mechanism, among others

Bujumbura, Burundi, 14 April 2010:

The third meeting of the East African Community (EAC) Inter-State Security Council opened yesterday in Bujumbura , Burundi , drawing more than 70 delegates from the Partner States Ministries in charge of Internal Affairs, Defence, Disaster Management, Immigration, Police, Prisons, Intelligence and Disarmament.

The officials will be joined by their Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Inspectors of Police ,Commissioners of Prisons and Chiefs of CID among others. The full meeting will be held on Friday, 16th April, 2010.

At the conclusion of the Sectoral Council the EAC will hold on 17th April an exercise of public destruction of illicit arms, an event to mark the African Union (AU) Year of Peace.

Opening the meeting, the EAC Deputy Secretary General (Political Federation) Hon. Beatrice Kiraso, said that the?meeting?would,?among?others,?review?progress?in?implementation?of?decisions?taken?at?its?second?meeting in Arusha last year;?consider?progress reports on conclusions of the EAC Peace and Security Protocol and the EAC Early Warning Mechanism and applauded the delegations for coming in such big numbers, welcomed those who were in Bujumbura for the first time saying that it would be an opportunity to dispel all mis-concepts people hold about the country.

“This is a post-conflict country, but we need to appreciate the great strides that have been taken to restore peace and stability and work together as a team of East Africans to pacify not only Burundi but the region. This is a very key moment in the integration process of East Africa , when we have moved to full implementation of the Customs Union, and had the Common Market Protocol signed last year, which will start its implementation on 1st of July. It means a lot for the Inter-State Security Sector and will call for more initiatives to ensure that those stages are not undermined by instability or lack of peace”, Hon Kiraso told the senior officials and experts.

The EAC programme on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) has seen the destruction of more than 10,000 weapons in the five countries.

“This cannot be a one-off exercise because our region has porous borders, with conflict countries surrounding us in all corners. Being security agencies, you know how much havoc one fire arm can do, but we have in the region tens of thousands and they continue to come in”. Hon. Kiraso said.

The destruction exercise will be presided over by H.E. Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza, and will be attended by ministers, senior officials, representatives from the European Union, AU and United Nations as well as members of the diplomatic corps accredited to Burundi .

The meeting will review progress of implementation of previous decisions, consider progress of conclusion of the Protocol for Peace and Security, Framework for Conflict Prevention Management and Resolution and the EAC Early Warning Mechanism.

The delegates will also receive reports of meetings of CID, Registrars of Motor Vehicles, and Prisons / Correctional Services which were held earlier this year.

Previous decisions include specific activities in the areas of?human?trafficking, drugs,?harmonization?of?Police?rankings and?the?proliferation?of?SALW?in?the?region.

Directorate of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs EAC Secretariat

Arusha

15Apr/100

EAST AND SOUTHERN AFRICA COMMUNITY: COMESA MEMBER STATES CONVERGE IN CAIRO FOR A CRUCIAL MEETING TO SWAP INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES.

Business News by Leo Odera Omolo In Kisumu City

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa States converged in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, this week with more than 500 industry leaders, international investors and Ministers from more than 19 African countries.

There is weigh to emerging opportunities and challenges for doing business among member states.

The Comesa Investment Forum, whose primary aim will be to identify and assess the investment opportunities and implications associated with doing business in East and Southern Africa, will seek among other things, to encourage investment in these regions by addressing issues that are critical for dong business and define action-oriented strategies to mitigate risks facing it.

According to a note posted from the office of the Comesa Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya In Lusaka, Zambia, “the business landscape in Africa is continuously undergoing change, and the Comesa region, as a vibrant emerging investment destination, is the least understood market, where information is generally scarce or even stale.”

“It is this that the investment summit will intend to address, specifically the opportunities on offer.”

Mr Ngwenya message says “the Comesa region and Africa in general could be the last frontier for development since the continent will soon be driving the world’s economic expansion.”

He cites the expanding level of consumption and per capital income as some of the drivers of growth.

With a population of more than 430 as at 2008 and annual import bill of USD 152 billion and an annual export bill of over USD 157 billion, Comesa forms a major marketplace for both internal and external trading.

Research and studies shows by 2015, Comesa which is Africa’s largest economic community will be commanding a market size of over 500 million customers.

Despite the squeeze on world economies last year, it grew by an average of five per cent, way above the world average of one per cent. For the past 10 years, though, the region’s economy has been between six and seven per cent, a clear indication that the fundamentals are on track.

A year ago, a conference on the North-South Corridor was held in Lusaka where more than USD 2.5 billion was raised to finance road and energy projects.

Currently, studies are being carried out on the establishment of the Central Corridor that will run through Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Eastern Congo. The Northern Corridor is expected to cover Djibouti, and Addis Ababa. Only last month, Comesa and the European Comission, during a meeting in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, committed more than USD 23 million to support the region’s infrastructure.

The Cairo forum comes amid reports that Comesa is inching closer towards unified trade regulations with the South African Development Community {SADC}, a development that will see the creation of a free trade area.

The Egypt event is specifically designed to promote dialogue and action between investors, business leaders and senior policy makers to create the necessary framework and drive investment opportunities and growth in Comesa region and Africa as a whole.

Ends

leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

15Apr/100

EAST AFRICA COMMUNITY: PRESIDENT PAUL KAGAME ADDRESSES MEMBERS OF THE EAST AFRICAN LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY IN KIGALI

Report By LeoOdera Omolo·

The Fourth Meeting, Third Session of the Second East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) officially kicked off yesterday, Tuesday, 14th April 2010, at the Parliament Chambers of the National Assembly of Rwanda with a call by H.E Paul Kagame to have the Customs Union fully implemented before the Common Market Protocol comes into effect.

In his keynote speech to the EALA Assembly meeting under the leadership of the Rt. Hon Abdirahin Abdi, the President focused on EALA’s outstanding role in the prompt realisation of the Common Market putting a lot of emphasis on the key role of the EALA in areas of representation, oversight, and legislation as main essentials in the full implementation of the Common Market Protocol.

Representative

In lobbying the EALA Members to support the Common market, the President downplayed the fears that the prospect of the free movement of labour, goods, services and capital, and the right for East Africans to live in any part of the Community, has produced. “Educate the people of East Africa about its merits and benefits. In order to dispel lingering perceptions that may be false” he said.

Oversight

The President called for the EALA to ensure that the Common Market is properly implemented according to the law signed by all Member States, saying he regretted the slow removal of trade barriers noting that there was now urgent need for the quick implementation of relevant Council and Summit resolutions. “ we do not have much time left before the Common Market comes into force,” he said.

The President called for urgent infrastructure development projects in the transport sector and Information technology which he noted are critical for a fully functional Common Market.

The President urged the EALA Members to ensure that these projects are effectively implemented, “and as you examine the East African Community budget, I urge you to consider these projects seriously” he said.

The President said he was pleased with the EALA’s efforts to develop the draft East African Election Observation Manual and confirmed that it will “establish common standards to enhance the credibility and legitimacy of our electoral outcomes and should further strengthen our democracies,” he said.

The President asserted that, “…more East Africans are recognizing that widening and deepening our ties will not only enable increased trade and business for everyone’s benefit, it will also facilitate increased educational and cultural exchanges among the EAC people.”

“The test of our success”, the head of State affirmed, “in the Integration process will ultimately be the improvement of the well fair of our East African Citizens”

Legislative

The President encouraged the EALA to continue enacting laws that facilitate the proper functioning of all organs of the East African Community, particularly those that facilitate effective implementation of the Common Market. “I have no doubt that you will debate the bills during this session with the usual candour and wisdom, “he said

“It is gratifying to learn that one of the items tabled for discussion will look at how to continue rebuilding unity in Rwanda following the Genocide – we look forward to your insights and recommendations,” he said.

In his Concluding remarks the President encourage the EALA to work together in removing existing impediments to the region’s integration and the socio-economic transformation of its people.

Speaking earlier on during his welcoming speech to the President, the Speaker of EALA, Rt. Hon Abdirahin Abdi commended President Kagame and his government’s positive development and policies that have brought about peace and security to the Nation.

The Speaker took the opportunity to affirm to the People of Rwanda that the Assembly was in Rwanda to “express its anguish, and boundless grief for those who lost their life’s and at the same time to express our solidarity and shared determination to learn from and never to repeat the lessons of past failures.

He hailed the President and his government “for the positive developments and policies that you have adopted to put the past behind and seek reconciliation and a new future full of hope, unity and determination.”

The EALA Speaker finally thanked Rwanda for the timely payment of her EAC Membership dues noting “ Rwanda was able to pay up all her dues within the first half of the financial year, an act highly commended and appreciated”.

EALA pays tribute to Genocide victims

Meanwhile the EALA Members together with the Rwandan lawmakers in honor of the victims of 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi on Monday, 12 April 2010 held a Seminar that focused on discussions around the theme, "16 Years after the Genocide perpetrated against Tutsis and handling its Consequences”.

Also in Attendance were Members of the Diplomatic Missions and International Organizations, Gacaca, the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), the Prosecutor General and sitting judges of the East African Court of justice from Rwanda .

The Members later on Tuesday,13 April 2010 visited the Rebero Memorial Site in Kicukiro district for the closing ceremony of the one week long commemoration ceremony held in remembrance of the politicians who were killed during the Genocide.

The President later on his address to the EALA appreciated EALA’s presence in Kigali during the 16th commemoration of the Genocide against the Tutsis who perished in Rwanda in 1994.

Background

This is the Second time that the EALA is meeting in Rwanda since the Membership of the Community expanded with the admission of two sister Republics of Burundi and Rwanda in July 2007.

The MPs from the two Partner States took oath as MPs in May 2008 and have since then continued to make their valuable contribution to the EAC integration agenda. The EALA comprises of a total of 52 Members, 45 elected Members (9 from each Partner State ) and 7 Ex-Officio Members comprising five Ministers or Deputies Ministers responsible for EAC affairs, the Secretary General of the Community and the Counsel to the Community.

As the for the regions legislature, the EALA prides itself for consolidating the gains it has collectively achieved as a region; and it is important to note that the laws passed by the EALA are binding on the EAC Partner States.

All laws enacted by EALA have the full force of law and take precedence over similar laws in the Partner States on matters related to the Community. In addition to passing legislation, the Assembly has adopted several resolutions and reports relating to the developments in the Community including in the Partner States

Ends

leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

Arusha , Tanzania

14Apr/100

EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY: REPORTS SAY NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE EUROPEAN UNION FOR THE NEW ECONOMIC TIES HAS REACHED A DEAD END.

Writes Leo Odera Omolo

REPORTS emerging from the East African Community {EAC}, indicating it is close to signing an Economic Partnership agreement {EPA} with the European Union, may be a mirage.

Sources, close to the high level negotiations that took place in Brussels recently, indicate that although most of the contentious clauses have been agreed upon, hopes that the trade Ministers would meet the EU Trade Commissioner this month for the final leg have been dashed after the schedule meeting was pushed to May this year.

“THE European Commission has new office bearers. They are reported to have requested more time to familiarize themselves with the technical issues surrounding the EPA negotiations. This means we have to wait longer”, said a member of the team who requested anonymity. He added, “we are just going back to the drawing board.”

The spokesman explained that it was unlikely that the negotiations could be concluded this year, considering that most regional governments are also going into elections.

Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya CEO Stephen Mbithi, who is a member of the EAC negotiation team, was recently quoted by the EASTAFRICAN as saying the parties have agreed on an EAC-EPA Development Matrix, and were discussing whether it could be annexed or made part of the agreement.

The EU opposes the agreement being legally binding.  They argue that the EU has other channels through which it funds development in the EAC regions.

Mbithyi further stated that the most Favored Nations clause, too, needs to be redefined so that EAC is not forced out of the EU when it can get the same items from other regions, notably China at cheaper costs.

“We have no problems with a MFN clause as long as it allows us to buy from Europe only at competitive prices“, said Mbithi.

Former Tanzania President Benjamin William Mkapa had no kind words for EPA when he addressed the Pan African Media Conference organized by the Nation Media Group as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations a fortnight ago.

Mkapa says partnership was a stumbling block to the growth of the continent’s regional trading blocs which he said should be strengthened

“There are the institutions that will rid the continent of its dependence on donor aid. But our joining EPAs is practically  embracing efforts against African quest for unity,” Mkapa said.

Mkapa had reasoned that the European Union had taken too long to get to its current status and that Africa cannot pretend that it can trade at par with the EU.

Kenya’s Permanent Secretary to the EAC, David Nalo, said that the unlikely event that a comprehensive agreement is not signed in June, “it would most likely come before December this year.”

He said the parties from both sides of the divide had agreed to continue trading under the interim Framework for Economic Partnership Agreement [FEPA} that expired in July last year.

Efforts to get a comment from the Ministry of Trade in Kenya were fruitless.  An official said they did not wish to talk to the media.  Yet the country negotiations are conducted under it.

Nalo, however, refuted recent media reports that Kenya had indicated an intention to go it alone, saying that the regional market was bigger for Kenya.

“Kenya is the largest exporter to both the EAC and the Common Market among East and Southern African states. Therefore, it is safer for us to negotiate as a bloc,” Nalo said, adding that the country’s largest exports to the EU, notably horticulture produce, had come under increasing threat from emerging suppliers such as Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and northern Africa, creating the need to grow regional outlets that offer a larger market for a variety of products.

With the coming into force of the regional Customs Union and the Common Market, it is difficult for any country to be on its own. Mr. Nalo added, emphasizing that it is easier to bulldoze one country but a different ball game to deal with a block of many nations.

The negotiations, according to reports, have now moved from the negotiators table and will be handled by trade ministers from both regions - - EAC and EU for finalization.

The negotiators found some middle ground on development support - - a key demand of African states that has stalled the talks since 2007.

Europe has reportedly agreed to finance a priority development programme in East Africa, removing a major obstacle to the conclusion of the trade talks.

FOOTNOTE:

FEPA was established in 2008 when the Cotonou Agreement ended, and a bridge to ensure that trade between the Africa Caribbean and Pacific countries is not disrupted. The parties gave themselves up to July 31,2009 to sign a comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, but this deadline expired without any progress.

Since then anxiety has been mounting over what will happen if the EU revokes the arrangement. Last December, the EU gave the region an ultimatum to conclude the talks or it would revert to the less favorable Generalized System of Partnership of preferences.

Ends

leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

8Apr/100

British businessmen trying to open more opportunities in the EAC regions

Business Reports by Leo Odera Omolo In Kisumu City

Ames-Lewis addressing journalists in Kampala last week

THE high business opportunities presented by the East African Community have excited the western world, especially the UK.

A British delegation from manufacturing and service sectors, under the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have concluded a tour of Uganda aimed at establishing new and strengthening existing trade links with the local dealers.

“The chamber brings together UK firms from the manufacturing and service sectors with products tailored for the regional market,” said the executive for world trade, Ruma Deb, during a press conference at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel.

He added that the delegation were interested in supplying waste water and water purification systems, laboratory equipment, new and used vehicles supplies, providing agricultural consultancy and supporting the oil and gas industry.

Meanwhile, the Nairobi-based British High Commission head of trade and investment, Orlando Ames-Lewis, has expressed concern about the western media’s negative reports on Africa, saying they were hindering business on the continent.

“We need to fight this negative publicity that portrays Africa as unconducive for investment. On the contrary, Africa is good for investment and trade,” he said.

Orlando added that more business people from UK were much willing to come and help East Africans in the area of value addition, a challenge hindering considerable revenue collections from the region’s exports.

The LCCI has annually been visiting East Africa for the last 25 years. It is the oldest chamber in UK and represents the business interests of nearly 4,000 small and large companies in the Midlands region.

Ends

23Mar/100

EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY MEMBER STATES TO ADOPT ONE SINGLE ENTRY VISA TO THEIR NATIONAL GAME PARKS.

EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY MEMBER STATES TO ADOPT ONE SINGLE ENTRY VISA TO THEIR NATIONAL GAME PARKS.

Reports Leo Odera Omolo

Residents of the East African Community {EAC] will be required to pay the same fees as Tanzanians to enter the country’s national parks.

A note recently sent to game park managers by Tanzania National Parks Authority spokesman, Pascal Shelutete, reads as follows; ‘This is to inform you that nationals of Rwanda and Burundi are to be charged preferential rates just like those of Kenya and Uganda.

“Thus arrangement is in line with the EAC plans to promote the region as a single tourism destination,” adds the note.

This mean EAC residents will now pay Tshs 1,500 [about USD 1 for adults]and Tshs 500 { about 35 cents USD} for children visiting any national parks in Tanzania per day.

Analysts believe the uniform directive is timely and will boost the industry in the EAC Common Market with nearly 130 million consumers and combined GDP of nearly USD 60 billion.

In 2006, each of the three founding EAC partner states of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda were charging different figures for non-citizen tourists. In Uganda, the entrance fees for EAC citizens to any of the country’s national game parks was USD 10 per day, while Ugandans were charged Ushs 5,000 {about USD 2.5}.

In Tanzania, the entry fees to Mount Kilimanjaro and Serengeti for foreign tourists and EAC residents was USD 60 and USD 50 respectably. In Kenya, the average charge fee for non-citizens was set at USD 30 per adult and USD 19 per student or child per day.

At the same time, sources at the EAC secretariat in Arusha say a task force appointed to study the region’s preparedness for a single tourist visa will present its report in June this year.

“The partner states are still consulting on the matter with the possibility of a trial visa to be introduced first, as they try to harmonize their tourism policies and laws,” a source explained.

The secretariat is reported to have approached the partner states, seeking information from the immigration departments on visa regulations and statistics from major tourism market countries.

Sources added that there was a likelihood of starting with a trial single visa in June this year, to determine whether East Africa is ready to introduce a single tourist visa for the region.

Experts working on the matter want visitor’s statistics for the sample countries that will participate in the suggested trial visa before the actual document is introduced.

The major source market for tourists coming to East Africa are the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, South Africa and Scandinavian countries.

Also sought for is information on information and communication technology {ICT} system used by the partner states to network with various centers such as border points and embassies.

In recent past, tourism players based in Arusha were said to have faulted the EAC governments for delaying the single visa tourism entry visa for the region.

Tourists visiting the region often spend hours crossing from one EAC state to another because they use different visa for each country.

Ends

leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

18Mar/100

EAC member states are developing new policy on food security and climate change

EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY MEMBER STATES ARE IN THE PROCESS OF DEVELOPING A COMMON POLICY ON FOOD SECURITY.

Writes Leo Odera Omolo

The East African Community [EAC} is developing a common policy strategy to address food security and climate change.

The strategy will be embodied in two policy documents –Food security Action Plan and Climate Change Policy- that will be presented to the heads of state at a special summit later this month in Arusha.

Already the drafts have been ratified by the East African Legislative Assembly and were reviewed at the recently held sartorial Council of Ministers for Lake Victoria Basin and the multispectral meeting on food security and climate change in Kisumu City.

The documents has now been passed to the partner states of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi for review and eventual forwarding to the EAC Secretariat for consolidation as they await ratification.

This joint approach comes as the individual countries in the region grapples with a gloomy outlook on food. A huge deficit arising successive poor yield in the past coupled with poor handling of harvest the bumper recorded last year threaten food security.

The East African region has suffered agricultural output due to among other things, erratic weather caused by climate change and ineffective national policies.

Concerted efforts by countries to seek outside assistance have been thwarted by restrictive national policies that hinder cross-border trade in food commodities. These are some of the issues that will be addressed by the new draft policies.

The policy targets the enhancement of free movement of food commodity within the region, increased productivity and formulation of tolerable policies and programmes. If ratified and implemented effectively, efforts will be focused towards eliminating non-tariff barriers, strengthening postharvest management and approving agricultural production.

The representation of the climate change policy is based on EAC Treaty, the EAC Protocol on environment and natural resources, the protocol on sustainable development of Lake Victoria Basin as well as the national framework convention on climate change among others.

Ends

leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

3Mar/101

EAST African Community: SWEDISH FIRM WINS MULTI MILLION DOLLAR CONTRACT FOR STUDIES ON POWER SHORTAGES

SWEDISH FIRM WINS A MULTIMILLION DOLLAR CONTRACT TO STUDY THE FUTURE OF ELECTRICTY INTERCONNECTIONS, TRANSMISSIONS AND SUPPLIES IN EAST AFRICA.

Business News By Leo Odera Omolo In Kisumu City.

SWECO, a Swedish. Multinational company has won euro 1,227,000 {about Ushs 4 billion} to conduct a feasibility study on the potential and proposals for the interconnection of electricity between Uganda and Tanzania.

The deal, according to Radio Uganda monitored here, is aimed at reducing the power shortage in the region, and is being carried out on behalf of the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company limited{UETCL}.

An impeccable source in Kampala, says the project would help the expansion plan for power generation and transmission system of Kenya,Tanzania and Uganda.

Sweco will also carry out a study to establish the existing and committed generation and transmission system, and determine the least cost of expanding the power system to meet the demand growth of the three countries. It will further be required to strengthen the interconnection links where it is appropriate.

This will entail studying load forecasting, assessment of hydropower/geothermal resources, develop supply reliability or criteria, examine interconnections, look for alternatives, identify transmission corridor, system analyses, least extension and economic analysis.

The head of the UETCL, Erias Kiyemba, confirmed the deal over the weekend. Experts, however, argue that by interconnecting the power grids around Lake Victoria, it is possible to reduce the shortage and ensure a more stable electricity supply in the region.

According to other reports, Sweco is already involved in similar assignments and contracts in other African countries, which included Botswana, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Angola and Tanzania.

“Over the past 50 years, Sweco has worked in many African countries to improve access to electricity in urban and rural areas,” Sweco president, Eva Nygren said.

“There is still a serious lack of electricity in the East African region, a problem that is creating obstacles for commercial and industrial development and progress”, he added.

According to the existing East African Power Master Plan, the interconnection of the electricity power lines will create two rings, one around Lake Victoria that will link Tanzania ,Kenya ,Uganda and Rwanda. Another interconnection power line will be around Lake Kivu and Edwards and will also link DR Congo, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

Among the schemes approved are 249km interconnection that will carry 270kv between eastern Uganda town of Jinja and Lessos in the North Rift region of Kenya. The other is the 220kv, Mbarara{Uganda} to Birembe {Rwanda} interconnection, which is 172km apart.

The East African region is currently characterized by very high power prices, insufficient and unreliable supply of power, and very low rate of electricification.

Ends
leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

18Feb/100

East African Community: New fisheries research boats for Kenya and Uganda to boost Lake Victoria studies

TWO NEW BOATS TO BE DEPLOYED IN LAKE VICTORIA BY KENYA,UGANDA AND TANZANIA TO
BOOST FISHERIES STUDIES

Fisheries News By Leo Odera Omolo in Kisumu City.

RESEARCH program project being carried out by the three members of the East African Communities, namely Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda has received three new boats valued at USD 2 million.

The three ultra-modern vessels fitted with sophisticated research gadgets will aid scientific fisheries studies in the lake.
Under the European Union-funded Fisheries Management Plan, the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute and Uganda’s National Fisheries Research Institute will each receive a new research boat fitted with an in-built laboratory, with the ability to determine fish populations, as well as the quality of waters in the Lake. The two vessels will cost USD 1.9 million.

Tanzania Fisheries Research institute will have a research vessel that it already owns refurbished and fitted with the latest equipment to improve its research capabilities. This includes fitting it with a new engine at a cost of USD 102,682.

The fisheries plan has been implemented through the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization, over the past seven years.

The project manager, Samson Abura, said the new vessels are expected to cut down on the cost and time on studies.

The three vessels also play a major role in the management of Lake Victoria as they have modern equipment for assessing fish stocks. The lake is currently grappling with dwindling fish stocks, precipitated by intense fishing pressure, as well as infiltration of illegal and destructive fishing practices, such as the increased use of unauthorized fishing nets.

The Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute assistant director in charge of inland waters, Dr. Richard Abila, said that the new vessel is fitted with echo-sounders that will aid hydro-acoustic surveys that determine the quantity and distribution of fish in the lake. The surveys are conducted quarterly.

Dr. Abila explained that the equipment functions using sound waves that are sent into the water and a signal recorded when fish is detected. Scientists conduct three surveys in a year to give a representation of the fish population trends.
The research boats also have advanced facilities for analyising water quality.

Now researchers going on expeditions in the lake no longer have to carry equipment with them, nor do they have to carry samples back to laboratories as they can analyze them on board.

Ends
leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

17Feb/100

East African Community: EALA Meeting in Kampala is abruptly adjourned after Ugandan MPs stay away

SPEAKER OF THE EAST AFRICAN LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY FORCED TO ADJOURN THE HOUSE PREMATURELY AFTER THE ELECTED UGANDAN MPS STAYED AWAY.

Reports Leo Odera Omolo In Kisumu City.

FOR some yet to be explained reasons, Uganda elected members of the East African Legislative Assembly stayed away on Monday afternoon, prompting the Speaker of the House to adjourn the sitting twice, due to lack of quorum.

The EALA, the legislative wing of the East African Community is currently holding its two week’s session in the Ugandan capital. Such a meeting rotates to all the five member states of the EAC, namely Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda.

The state-owned NEWVISION reported this morning that the House, presided over by the Speaker, Abdularahim Abdi, was at the time receiving a report of the committee on agriculture, tourism and natural resources, on the common strategy for food security in the region.

While the committee chairperson, Dr. George Nangale, presented the report, Janet Mmari {Tanzania} raised a point of procedure, saying the House was proceeding without quorum since there was no elected Uganda member present.

The rule of procedure governing the EALA requires that all the member countries have to be represented by at least three elected MPs.

The only Ugandan legislature present in the House at the material time was the Ugandan Minister for EAC Affairs, Eriya Kategaya, who is technically not an elected member of the Assembly.

The Speaker suspended the meeting for 10 minutes to give the Clerk time to try and mobilize the Ugandan MPs.
However, after 15 minutes, the Speaker returned to the Chamber and announced that the Ugandan elected MPs could not be found, and the House adjourned again.

And after the House had adjourned, some Ugandan representatives appeared in the lobby, but they declined to talk to the media about their sudden disappearance from the House business.

Nusura Tajoni, one of the MPs later explained that the Ugandan member were attending a crucial meeting in an attempt to resolve a dispute over a committee position. But one Margaret Zziwa was bold enough to disclose that the Ugandan MPs were busy discussing other pressing issues.

Other business scheduled for the day included consideration of the committee report on regional affairs and conflict resolutions.

The House was also expected to consider a motion urging the EAC member states to take action against female genital mutilation.

Sources within the opposition parties in Uganda severely criticized the elected Ugandan MPs for lack of commitment to the deliberations of the Assembly, even when such meetings are held within their doorsteps.

One anonymous spokesman for the opposition blamed the Ugandan representatives, whom he accused of earning millions of shillings from the taxpayers, only to stay away from the meetings of the EAC.

Ends
leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

28Jan/100

EAC region under one single currency would become more attractive for investors

OFFICIALS PREDICT THAT EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY REGION WOULD BECOME THE MOST ATTRACTIVE AREA FOR BOTH FOREIGN AND LOCAL INVESTMENTS.

Business Report by Leo Odera Omolo In Kisumu CITY.

East African is expected to become more attractive to investors appetite for imminent opportunities in the East African Community, with the establishment of an East African Monetary Union.

A team of experts from the European Central Bank, who presented their findings of a study carried out on the establishment of a Monetary Union in the region, told a consultative meeting held in Kampala recently.

The team said the Monetary Union will significantly reduce business transaction costs, as there will be no need to convert one national currency to another.

The signing of the Common Market protocol in the last quarter of 2009 is already pulling in major investments, mainly from China, India and Japan.

“By eliminating barriers that were hindering Intra-East African trade, we expect business and trade between the five member states, namely Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi would be significantly increased”, said David Nalo, the Permanent Secretary in Kenya’s Ministry of the East African Community Affairs.

“With strategies to expand our infrastructure and have a common currency, we expect goods and services to move even much faster from one point to another”, the PS added.

Mr Nalo was recently quoted extensively by the influential weekly, the EASTAFRICAN as saying that a single currency will not only substantially reduce transaction costs, but also bring about price stability.

Before the coming into force of the European Monetary Union a decade ago, an estimated USD 30 billion a year was being spent on foreign exchange transactions.

Then International Monetary Fund {IMF} says the elimination of these costs were particularly relevant to Ireland, the bulk of whose exports go to the European Union.

Statistics now show that the European Monetary Union increased trade among its member countries by between eight and sixteen per cent.

East African Monetary Union will thus result in foreign multinationals being more willing to set up in East African Community region. National Central Banks are also expected to save through lowering international reserves.

However, other reports appearing in the same paper, says that the initial efforts to reach a common position on rolling out a single currency for the region have run into hurdles, as Kenya and Uganda argue that the legal requirements of a full transfer of monetary sovereignty to the regional level carry with it the danger of exposing their countries financial sectors to external shocks.

Other latest development in the region is that in future, students taking East African states educational curricular, will soon be compelled to sit for a compulsory “East African Community Treaty” examination to gauge their grasp of the regions integration.

Although it is not known how soon teachings will begin, the EAC secretariat is currently working at incorporating the subject in the curriculum.

This news comes about as Uganda and Burundi introduce the region’s lingua franca – Kiswahili in schools curriculum this year. It also comes amid growing concern that the integration has not trickled down to ordinary citizens, hence the need for concerted efforts to popularize the East African Community.

The decision to introduce the EAC as a compulsory subject in schools was arrived at during the signing of the EAC Common Market Protocol in November last year, as one of the forward steps towards the region’s full integration.
It creates an interesting challenge for the region, which is grappling with challenges of educational standardization, given that partner states use different systems of education.

According to Kenya’s PS, Mr. Nalo, education is a key element in deepening the region’s integration agenda as exemplified in Article 102 sub-section 11, which partly lays emphasis on the development of a common programme in basic intermediary and tertiary education.

The section further proposes the harmonization of curricular, examinations, certifications, accreditation of training institutions in partner states.

“The EAC plans to undertake a long term harmonization process of education system in the region. The curriculum content will also be changed to adopt to each country’s national priorities and aspirations, “said Mr. Nalo.

The new curriculum is to be jointly developed by national bodies charged with the responsibility. To this end a committee has been formed specifically to deal with the same issue.

This committee will facilitate contact between universities of East Africa, set up a forum for discussion on academic and other matters relating to higher education, and maintain higher academic standards across the EAC region.

The PS said he would be sharing the EAC modalities of implementing the EAC decision with his counterparts in the education ministry, adding that education and training would help the EAC define its priority and aspiration.

Ends

11Dec/090

The fragile Coalition government of Kenya is being run by the international bullies behind the scenes, using paid hit men like Kofi Annan and Moreno Ocampo

The fragile Coalition government of Kenya is being run by the international bullies behind the scenes, using paid hit men like Kofi Annan and Moreno Ocampo

From:  Akech

My fellow country men/women;
(By the way, I do not have PhD, so be kind to my rumbling below)

While most of you are taking shots at each other over the squabble between Raila and Ruto, the fragile Coalition government of Kenya is being run by the international bullies behind the scenes using paid hit men like Kofi Annan and Moreno Ocampo.

Annan and Ocampo are paid consultants representing the interests of NATO (United States, Great Britain, and Europe) in their war against terrorism. The US has invested a lot of capital in Mwai Kibaki since that State Dinner hosted by George W. Bush at Whitehouse in his honor in 2003. Because of this relationship with Mwai Kibaki, PNU is the US, Great Britain and European Union favored ruling party in Kenya.

The Mau saga and The Hague stick were merely ploys introduced to dismantle and put ODM out of commission. It would be a miracle if the Pentagon members can manage to sort out their differences and realize that those poor Kenyans who flocked their rallies were counting on them to bring real changes in Kenya! Apparently, it does not look like the big egos will allow them to do that. I wonder whether these people are not just concerned about themselves, immediate families and their close fiends.

What is more worrisome is that there are parallels between the implosion within ODM right now and what was happening in Rwanda a few months before the 1994 genocide.

(1)US has been a staunch supporter of Paul Kagame and his Rwanda Patriotic Front since its creation by Tutsi exiles in Uganda. The leaders in the RPF army were trained and equipped by US and its European allies.

(2)A year or two prior to Rwanda genocide of 1994, there were a series of power sharing negotiations between the government of Rwanda, under President Juvenal Habyarimana and the then leader of Rwanda Patriotic Front, Paul Kagame, held in Arusha, Tanzania.

(3)During these negotiations, the Rwandan government was pressured and threatened with international sanctions by the US and his European allies to grant power sharing concessions to RPF. Habyarimana granted so many concessions to RPF that made it difficult for the president to justify to his hard line supporters that he was not handing over ruling powers to a minority ethnic group, the Tutsis, under leader Paul Kagame.

During the colonial rule and shortly after independence from the Belgians, the Tutsi minority had supreme powers over the Hutus (85%) and other tribes.

(4)The last straw came just a day before the beginning of the genocide. The hardliners in Habyarimana party were unable to standby and watch what they saw as a military coup by Paul Kagame and his Tutsis minority, through continuous pressure from US and it allies. That day, the plane carrying the Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana (Hutu), and Burundi President Cyprien Nitanyamira (Hutu), who were retuning from reconciliation meetings in Arusha, Tanzania, was brought down by a surface-to-air missile just, before its landing at Kigali Airport. The Rwanda genocide began a couple of hours later that night , April (6-7) 1994

(5)To date, the person or people responsible for the downing of the plane have never been identified. Yet there are international investigators in Rift Valley trying to talk to the locals to unearth who exactly incited the 2007 elections riot that killed 1,000 Kenyans.

Yet, US, France, Great Britain and the European Union have never seen it fit to employ their superior investigative methods to unearth who assassinated the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi on the eve of Rwanda genocide. They have left that single episode to speculations:- Could it have been the Hutu hardliners who were afraid of impending takeover of government by advancing Tutsis RPF, or was it Paul Kagame and it RPF, who wanted to take the power from the Hutus? The environment created was such that either side could have been responsible

************************************************************
(1)ODM has been vilified by international press since the beginning of 2007 Kenyan election campaigns.

(2)To make the Coalition Government work, Raila and ODM have made many concessions to accommodate PNU and have been, deliberately, assigned tasks which put this political party members at odds with each other, as well as their supporting Kenyan voters, who are now left dangling in the air. Yet, through Kofi Annan, more pressure is being exerted by the international powers and directed primarily at the Prime Minister and his team. The pressure has definitely taken its toll!

(3)Raila has become the axe man in implementing policies which only help put him in conflicts with his base supporters in Kenya, particularly, Rift Valley.

(4)The current implosion within ODM has created an atmosphere in which anyone outside ODM party members can harm either Ruto or Raila or both. Should something like this happen, some ODM supporters will be blamed for a nightmare like that!

**************************************************************
While ODM attention is directed towards the squabbles within Kenya, a barrage of NEW laws and rules of engagement in the newly re-created East African Community (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi), with dire consequences to Kenya and Kenyans are taking shape. The continuous disagreements between PNU and ODM in Kenya make it difficult for anybody to determine who is representing ODM's views or or the views of those who gave them support at these EAC negotiations!

One thing is clear; the well known proxy warriors in East Africa and Lake Victoria regions, Paul Kagame and Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, are now the alpha dogs in the EAC. These are the same well trained, battle hardened Ugandan and Rwandan proxies who have been wreaking havoc in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where over a million Congolese have been killed, and a million others rotting in refugee camps!

This is the resources looting war the world is not interested talking about. Things are just getting worse with resource lootings in the Congo. New East African Community members are getting into the mineral act:

http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/-/2558/670830/-/qxs6gjz/-/index.html

The borders between these five EAC countries are becoming porous. One does not need a passport to go in and out of each territory! During the 2008 political turmoil in Kenya, it was rumored that Ugandan forces were seen in Western Kenya and Kisumu District, and there has been Migingo Island issue in Lake Victoria. Next time around, it will be the Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi army chaps who will be wreaking havoc in Western and Nyanza Provinces, and they will not need a permission to come in. This is already taking shape, while majority of Kenyans’ attention is focused elsewhere!

http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/-/2558/817786/-/py73rlz/-/index.html

Kofi Annan and Moreno Ocampo have not yet seen it fit to pay one visit to Laurent Nkunda, Paul Kagame’s right hand man, who is responsible for killing and damaging millions Congolese on behalf of multinational corporations. Nkunda is now living in Rwanda, negotiating the terms for his unconditional release.

What exactly did William Ruto do that has made Annan and Ocampo be hot on his trail? Is he worse than Kagame and Nkunda? I am not trying to minimize the deaths of 1,000 and displacement of 35,000 Kenyans during the 2007-2008 election turmoil. I am merely directing your attentions to what some members of EAC are doing in DRC, and what they may be capable of doing in Kenya should things fall apart!

REPEAT, WHILE KENYANS’ ATTENTION IS FOCUSSED ON POLITICAL TURMOILS WITHIN, THE EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY LAWS WITH DIRE MILITARY AND TRADE COSEQUENCES ARE BEING SHAPED BY THE RESOURCES WAR LORDS WHO ARE NOW MEMBERS OF EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY!

http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/opOrEd/comment/-/434750/817950/-/bpuxnr/-/index.html

6Dec/090

EAC SECRETARY GENERAL SPEECH AT THE OPENING OF CHURUNDU BORDER POST

STATEMENT BY AMB. JUMA V. MWAPACHU, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY AND CHAIRPERSON OF THE COMESA-EAC-SADC TRIPARTITE TASK FORCE DURING THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE CHIRUNDU ONE STOP BORDER POST, 5TH DECEMBER 2009, CHIRUNDU, ZAMBIA-ZIMBABWE BORDER

Your Excellency, Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe,

Your Excellency, Rupiah Bwezani Banda, President of Zambia,

Honourable Ministers,

Your Excellencies Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Heads of International and Regional Organizations,

Distinguished Representatives of DFID and JICA,

My colleagues, Sindiso Ngwenya and Dr. Tomaz Augusto Salomao, the CEOs of COMESA and SADC,

Invited Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen

I am honoured and profoundly privileged as Chair of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Task Force of Chief Executive officers to thank your Excellencies, our dear Heads of State, for your distinguished presence at this event of historic importance to our region and to Africa.

Your Excellencies,

This event marking the official Launch of the Chirundu One Stop Border Post, the first of its kind in Africa, is a lucid demonstration of the new dynamic in regional integration; a dynamic whose underlying ethos is the forward movement towards the realization of the African Economic Community.

Your Excellencies,

Our region, sparked by the vision and resolve of our political leaders in COMESA, SADC and the East African Community, is path breaking in collapsing the artificial national borders created by colonialism and taking revolutionary strides towards unleashing a new economic integration momentum. A higher growth and sustainable trajectory and indeed the economic liberation of the people of our regional crucially hinges on this dynamic political leadership and on the measures being unfolded of which this One Stop Border Post is only a small manifestation. The bigger resolve is what our leaders decided in October last year in Kampala, Uganda that COMESA-EAC and SADC proceed expeditiously to establish a Grand Free Trade Area followed by a Customs Union. Much headway has been realized on this front. Indeed as we meet here, all the Member States of our three Regional Communities are now reviewing concrete proposals which our Task Force led by the three CEOs have developed and tabled. Our plan is that our political leaders should by May next year pronounce themselves on the establishment of the Grand Free Trade Area.

Your Excellencies,

Within the framework of the Tripartite arrangements, there have been resolute efforts taken, even prior to the establishment of the Grand FTA, to address our region’s transport and logistics deficits. This is in the realization that supply side constraints distort our region’s costs of doing business and undermine our economic competitiveness. It is this realization that gave birth to the North-South Corridor Development Project within which the Chirundu One Stop Border Post is an inherent part. In April this year at Lusaka, the Tripartite Leadership supported by a number of close Development Partners, notably DFID, JICA, EU, World Bank, African Development Bank and Development Bank of Southern Africa, the North-South Corridor Project was able to attract USD1.2 billion in funding pledges. DBSA is raising an additional USD1.5 billion for the project.

Your Excellencies,

Years of cross-border trade experience around the world and not just in Africa have shown that the costs of doing business are invariably distorted where the efficiency of supply chains, both in exports and imports, is thwarted by poor facilitation at border points. A recent study report of the World Bank points out that in fact only 25% of the supply chain high costs are attributable to poor physical infrastructure. 75% of the cost distortion is contributed by what are described as soft infrastructure deficits. These are principally people-driven and related to cumbersome customs procedures, bureaucratic behavior and corruption. It is these trade facilitation deficits that the One Stop Border Posts seek to address. And this Chirundu One-Stop Border Post is in this vein a milestone project. A model whose success will constitute a huge case for replication around our COMESA-EAC-SADC region and Africa generally. We have every confidence that this Chirundu Project will significantly reduce supply chain transaction costs, spur higher trade flows and boost the competitiveness of our industries and agriculture.

Let me offer a real example. Currently, it takes 2-3 days for a haulage truck to cross the Chirundu Border point. If you consider that Chirundu handles an average of 268 trucks per day, this translates to a traffic volume of 96,840 trucks per annum, as a minimum. From our calculation, it costs each truck USD140 per day in fixed costs and Drivers’ time. Thus for 3 days, the cost per truck is US$420. This cost is saved by use of the Chirundu One Stop Border Posts because it is now estimated that each truck should not take more than 2 hours to cross and only 15 minutes for fast track pre-cleared traffic. In our estimation, the potential cost saving per annum is about USD486 million which accrues to our economies and leverages competitiveness.

Your Excellencies,

The advantages realized from the One Stop Border Post are not merely economic. They are also social and importantly so. Public health research in our broad region shows that there is close association between high incidences of HIV/AIDs transmission and delays in border crossings of haulage trucks. Chirundu and other planned One Stop Border Posts will contribute to a significant reduction in HIV/AIDs vulnerability in this important regional economic sector.

Your Excellencies,

Allow me to conclude by thanking DFID and JICA for their financial and technical support to this Chirundu Project. DFID and JICA are working closely with the Tripartite to develop other Transport Corridors in the COMESA-EAC-SADC region notably the Northern Corridor in Kenya and the Central Corridor in Tanzania. These corridors will further open up the economic spaces embracing Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Eastern DRC.

Your Excellencies,

The Governments of Zimbabwe and Zambia have made a huge contribution to this Chirundu Project. The presence of Presidents Mugabe and Banda here today attests to their valued support of this One Stop Border Post Project. We hail this support and salute our comrade Presidents for their solidarity. Finally, special gratitude to Mr. Kingsley Chanda, the Manager and Coordinator of this One Stop Border Post Project. He has done a commendable job.

Your Excellencies,

Friends,

On behalf of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Task Force, I have great honour to invite their Excellencies, President Robert Mugabe and President Rupiah Banda to address us and officially inaugurate the Chirundu One Stop Border Post.

I THANK YOU.

27Nov/091

Launching of East African Business directory in Nairobi by the eac

EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY
 
STATEMENT BY MR JEANE CLAUDE NSENGIYUMVA, EAC DEPUTY SECRETARY GENERAL (PRODUCTIVE AND SOCIAL SECTORS) DURING THE LAUNCH OF THE EAST AFRICAN BUSINESS DIRECTORY
 
Nairobi Safari Club, Nairobi, Kenya, 26 November 2009
 
Hon. Amason Jeffa Kingi, Minister for East African Community
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the East African Community, Mr. David Nalo,
The Vice Chairman of the East African Business Council, Mr. Keli Kiilu
The Executive Director, East African Business Council, Mr. Charles Mbogori,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
 
On behalf of the East African Community Secretariat, I am very pleased to be associated with this important occasion of launching the East African Business Directory, 2009/2010 Edition.
 
Let me at the outset convey warm greetings to you from the Secretary General of the East African Community, Ambassador Juma Mwapachu, and inform you of his great appreciation for this yet another initiative of the East African Business Council in support of regional integration and development.
The launching of the East African Business Directory is indeed timely coming hot on the heels of the signing last Friday by the Heads of State of the Protocol on the Establishment of the East African Community Common Market.  It shows the readiness with which our region’s business community have anticipated the onset of the Common Market.
 
The EAC Common Market Protocol is an elaborate document that will govern, but more importantly, promote intra-regional trade as well as social, cultural and other interactions of our people within a large and vibrant single East African market.
 
Apart from its provisions for free  movement of trade and  factors of production, the Protocol provides for cooperation in critical areas of regional development, including co-operation in regional infrastructure , science and technology, industrial development; and agriculture and food security.
 
The Protocol therefore raises important interventions which must be led and involve critical inputs of the private sector. Taking the cue from the EAC Treaty, the private sector should occupy the position of strategic leadership of our region’s grand march to the ranks of the fast modernizing regions of the world.
 
The aim of economic integration being to tap opportunities of economies of scale arising from a larger market and investment area in order to accelerate growth, it is important that the manufacturing and trading enterprises of our region – both large and small scale - should increasingly collaborate among themselves in the context of the Common Market and the solid regional economic bloc that we are pursuing.
 
The private sector needs to coalesce into a confident force and centre of dynamic engagement and interface with Government in building a strong East African economy with a solid industrial and manufacturing base, and a strong production and marketing enterprise that will raise the competitiveness of our region and raise the living standards of the people.  
 
More or less like a World Cup team, all our development players need to co-ordinate their act, marshal strategies and  resources, investing in the people, investing in economic infrastructure, investing in exchange of information and investing in marketing services thus strengthen performance and maximize scores  in the highly competitive global markets. 
 
It is gratifying to note that the signing of the Protocol has come at a time when a very positive mood and team spirit exists in the region for deepening integration. Indeed, the just concluded celebrations of the 10th Anniversary of the East African Community have further energized the spirit of East African unity and development under the banner of One People, One Destiny that has been well embraced in the region.
 
It is therefore very fitting that East African Business Council, has launched the Business Directory at this opportune moment when we move into the higher stage of integration.  The Directory will provide useful reference and exchange of information for an effective collaborative effort in promoting investments and marketing our region. I am particularly pleased  to note that the East African Business Directory will be committed to providing linking information with  counterparts  across the borders thus promote  cross-border  investments, trade and exchanges.
 
In concluding my remarks, I wish once again to thank the EABC for this excellent idea and wish the East African Business Directory and the business community as a whole great success.
 
 ends
leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

25Nov/090

After Common Market and EA Customs Union, the political federation is the next stop

AFTER THE SIGNING OF BOTH AGREEMENTS FOR CUSTOMS UNION AND COMMON MARKET PROTOCOLS LAST WEEK, THE POLITICAL FEDERATION OF EAST AFRICA IS NOW VERY MUCH FEASIBLE.

News Analysis By Leo Odera Omolo In Kisumu.

BY signing the common market protocol last week, the East African Community has officially ushered in a common market amid renewed commitment by the region’s head of states to expedite the much touted and envisaged political federation of East African states.

The common market protocol was finally signed in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha last Friday, bringing to an end months of waiting and anxiety.

Contentious issues nearly derailed the grueling negotiations and the signing, and what should have been accomplished earlier this year, was pushed forward to this month, from April, 2009.

At a colorful ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary , which coincided with the EAC bloc’s common market deal, the chairperson of the East African Community Council of Ministers, Ms Monique Mukuyruliza, who is also the Rwandan Minister for the Community Affairs, urged the partner states to expedite its ratification at national level by the scheduled July 1,2010.

The outgoing chair of the EAC Summit, Presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Mwai Kibaki {Kenya}, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni {Uganda}, Pierre Mkurunziza of Burundi and the hosts, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and Abeid Amani Karume of Zanzibar, nodded their heads as Ms Mkuruliza said the ball was now in their national courts.

The Minister said Rwanda was the only country in the region with a fast ratification policy, with Tanzania trailing behind, taking longest time, four months.

Despite the disparities, she said, the EAC Ministers had agreed to work closely with their respective countries to push the necessary ratification within the shortest period of time possible.

The coming into force of both the East African Customs Union, and the Common Market, will lead to a short-term loss of revenue, as countries remove internal taxes, and harmonize external duties, as per the common external tariff guidelines.

The expected loss is estimated to run into million of dollars. Rwanda, she said, is the only country that has done a full assessment, and is looking at a loss of USD 12 million, but its EAC Permanent Secretary, Robert Ssali said it is a small price to pay for the expected benefits.

At the signing ceremony, President Kagame handed over the Summit chair to President Jakaya Kikwete.

The EAC Secretary General, Juma V. Mwapachu, said that in the regionalization and globalization era, no one single country can be on its own.

President Kagame, in a his key-note address, said the protocol was a major milestone for the EAC, and attested to its shedding of colonial boundaries and individualism and embracing of globalization.

The Heads of States gave a deadline of six months for a detailed report on the fine-tuning of the federation ,and a committee of experts is to be formed immediately.

Also being fast tracked is a ground for free trade area from Cape Town to Cairo, bringing together the EAC, the Common Market for East and Southern Africa, and the Southern African Development Community, that will remove trade borders among 26 African countries.

A conference in March next year will fine tune documents, to be signed by the Presidents in April, and become operational in December 2010.

Meanwhile, Kenya’s Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, has welcomed the signing of the common market protocol and the EAC Customs Union Act. He said this will bring to an end the harassment of Kenyan fishermen in Lake Victoria.

Speaking at Usenge Beach in Yimbo Location, Bondo district, during the International Fishing Day, Raila Odinga said the two agreements will boost the security in the region.

The treaty permits the free movement of people, goods and services both on land and in the lake”, said the PM.

He said from now onward, no Kenyan fisherman will again be arrested for trespassing into parts of the lake considered to be in Uganda or Tanzania. Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have a common security team to make fishing in Lake Victoria more safe.

Illegal fishing nets being used in the lake, said Mr.Odinga, is the only threat to the existence of lake resources. He told the fishermen to act responsibly and conserve the lake resources for the future generation.

The Prime Minister was accompanied by the Fisheries Minister, Dr. Nyongesa Otuoma, the Minister for Regional Development, Fred Gumo and other senior government and local officials..

Ends

leooderaomolo@yahoo.com