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ADDRESS BY HE PIERRE NKURUNZIZA, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF BURUNDI AND CHAIRPERSON OF THE EAC SUMMIT AT THE 13TH SUMMIT OF EAC HEADS OF STATE

Bujumbura, 30 novembre 2011

-       Your Excellency Mwai KIBAKI, President of the Republic of Kenya,

-      Your Excellency Yoweri Kaguta MUSEVENI, President of the Republic of Uganda,

-      Your Excellency Mohamed Gharib Bilal, Vice-President of the United Republic of Tanzania,

-       Right Honourable Pierre Damien HABUMUREMYI, Prime Minister of the Republic of Rwanda,

-      Your Excellencies Speakers of East African Parliament ;

-      Your Excellency Speaker of EALA ;  Your Excellency Jean PING, Chairperson of the African Union Commission ;

-      Honourable Ombudsman of Burundi ;  Your Lordship Judge President of the East African Court of Justice,

-      Honourable Chairperson of the Council of Ministers ;

-      The Secretary General of the East African Community, Hon Ambassador Dr Richard SEZIBERA,

-      Honourable Ibrahim Diouf, Secretary General of ECOWAS ;

-      Honourable President of East African Business Council ;

-      Honourable Deputy Secretary Generals ;

-      Honourable Deputy Secretary General of COMESA ;

-      Honourable Members of Parliament ;

-      Honourable Ministers ;

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

-      Your Lordship Mayor of Bujumbura City,

-      Distinguished Invited Guests, all protocol observed,  Ladies and Gentlemen ;

1. Allow me first of all to praise the Almighty God for blessing all the delegations’ trip to Bujumbura, and for blessing this Summit to happen !

 

2. I am indeed honoured to welcome you all to the 13th Summit of East African Community Heads of State under the theme : “EAC in its second decade : Opportunities and Challenges“.

3. On behalf of the Government and the People of Burundi, I am delighted to wish you a warm welcome by saying :”KAZE MURISANZE, KARIBUNI SANA, WELCOME, SOYEZ LES BIENVENUS”. Bujumbura is going to be your second home ; and I am confident that you will have a pleasant stay, and therefore wish you all to enjoy the traditional hospitality of the People of Burundi.

4. I wish to express my gratitude to my colleagues for giving me the opportunity to guide the Affairs of the Community for the outgoing year. This has been a year with a very busy agenda, yet, a year of speedy progress in our integration process. It has been a year of great achievements, and contribution for Burundians, to the successful integration of our cherished Community.

5. During my tenure, our Customs Union has been strengthened with the coming to an end of the transitional period. We are now about to turn our region into a Single Customs Territory, which is a very important undertaking.

6. The Common Market Protocol is under implementation. It is indeed critical, that the freedoms and rights under this Protocol, are enjoyed by the Peoples of East Africa, for whom the East African Common Market Protocol means that we cannot continue to do business as we used to. It rather means that our Peoples should be enabled to live and move as East Africans, fully enjoying the benefits of deeper and wider integration.

7. In my understanding, Governments, Legislatures, Local Authorities, Immigration Authorities, Customs Officials, Professional Associations, stakeholders in Education, must make further efforts to remove the barriers that still hamper our Peoples from living and working as East Africans. Let us promote the East African-ness, where East African interests and future are reality. Indeed, we share the present, and above all the future. Let us then join our efforts, to widen and deepen integration, for the well being of the Peoples of East Africa.

8. Speaking of Education, The 9th Meeting of the EAC Sectoral Council on Education, Science and Technology, Culture and Sports held in Arusha on July 15 this year considered and adopted the Regional Report on the Harmonization of the EA Education Systems and Training Curricula. It is now high time, the Council of Ministers, which is the highest policy making organ of the EAC, shifts to its implementation. To this end, I would recommend the Headquarters of the EAC Inter-University Council to be agreed upon as soon as possible. Again, I firmly believe that Education is the key for whatsoever our Community is planning.

9. International Trade and Foreign Direct Investments in the EAC Region have grown by over 60% in operations of the Customs Union, joint promotions of EAC Investments and Trade, and on the set of Common Market. Also on the account of the same factors, EAC intra-region trade has risen to 23% of total value exports, the highest of all the African Regional Economic Communities.

10. Through regional integration, EAC has been able to reduce the shocks of the global economic system, and to maintain an enviable position among the fastest growing regions in the world. During the year 2010, and the first half of 2011, EAC countries maintained an average 5% GDP growth, against the world average of 3%.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and gentlemen ;

11. The above facts are, however, not enough. We need to be more ambitious, not less. Our combined economies are not still strong enough to be competitive in the global arena. When we are fragmented, we are weak. When we integrate, we are collectively stronger.

When we invest in deeper integration with equity, we are stronger still. This is why I welcome the agreement on the Industrial Policy and Strategy for East Africa.

Individually, our industrial base is weak, value chains are almost inexistent, and our capacity to innovate is limited. Collectively, we have the Resources, the Peoples, and the capacity to transform and modernise the basis of our economies. The Conference we held yesterday on the Development of Lake Tanganyika Basin, has given us a lot of comfort in that good understanding.

12. But in order for us to succeed, we need to stop considering industrialisation as a zero sum game, where one country can only succeed at the expense of the other. We must be forward looking, and realise that geography is neither a sure, nor strong basis for prosperity. That we can only prosper if we are open to smart policies, more open borders, and matching the free movement of goods with the free movement of labour and capital within our Region.

13. I am happy to note that the Dialogue Framework between EAC and the Private Sector and Civil Society Organizations, is in its final stage of finalization and adoption. Let us act together, hand in hand, with the Private Sector and Civil Society Actors, to achieve prosperity East Africans are striving for.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen ;

14. Burundi is proud to be part of this dynamic progress of the EAC. We are particularly honoured by this opportunity to host major activities of the Community during this period. Indeed, during the large part of this month, there has been an unprecedented concentration of EAC activities taking place in Bujumbura, including the present Summit Meeting, the meetings of the East African Legislative Assembly, the Council of Ministers, and the first-ever Conference on the Development of Lake Tanganyika Basin.

15. I appreciate that it is largely on account of becoming Member of the EAC family, that Burundi has been able to transform within a short time, from a relatively isolated country, which was associated mainly with internal civil unrest, to a land- linked country with a vibrant economy, improved infrastructure, and a stable socio-political system.

16. Our ability and capacity to accommodate, not only these international conferences, but also to attract increasing incidence on foreign direct investments, are clear positive indications of the tangible benefits of regional integration.

17. I take this opportunity to pay tribute to Partner States, and to all those who, in a way or another, contributed to make peace happen in Burundi. I wish to particularly thank regional leaders who mediated in the Burundian conflict, namely the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, who, among others, initiated the peace talks ; former South African President Nelson Mandela, whose vision and wisdom led to a speedy resolution of the conflict, without forgetting President Yoweri Museveni, chair of the regional initiative for Burundi.

18. Allow me to conclude these remarks by thanking You, Your Excellencies ; thanking our Council of Ministers ; different Sectoral Councils and Teams of Experts in different sectors ; for all the support that you all accorded to me and my Country, throughout my tenure as Chairperson of the EAC Summit.

19. Let me also thank Members of Staff of all EAC Organs and Institutions, for having facilitated diligently the Activities, Programmes and Projects of the Community.

20. I was pleased to have a working session with all of them. I do hope this shall be sustained with the in-coming Chairperson of the Summit, meeting them to deliberate on the status of play of the Community.

21. Let me use this platform to thank all Development Partners and all well wishers for the support offered to EAC in general, and especially to Burundi during the tenure of Burundi Chairmanship, as we strongly believe integration is, in a globalised world, one of the keys to economic growth and sustainable development.

22. The EAC has made tremendous progress in the past twelve months, during which I led this Organisation, in its first year of its second decade. I believe the cooperation extended to us will also be accorded to the in-coming Chairperson.

23. Finally, allow me to use this opportunity to congratulate my elder Brother, His Excellency Mwai Kibaki, for taking the Chairmanship of the EAC. I am honoured to handover the stewardship of the work in progress as I have outlined, and that of the EAC operations in general. I believe that you will move the Community to the highest level of development possible, in terms of economic development and prosperity of our respective Peoples.

24. Lastly, I may wish to thank very much Roca Golf Hotel for the excellent facilities that were provided for this EAC Summit of Heads of State. I commend the management for the East Africanness shown during this East African High Event and wish them all the best !

Long live the East African Community,

Long live regional and international cooperation,

Long live peace and solidarity among EAC Member States,

May God bless you all,

Thank you all for your kind attention

Mis à jour (Mardi, 06 Décembre 2011 12:00)

 
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