Intra-regional trade among East Africa Community (EAC) member states has increased significantly especially over the past one and half years, the EAC Secretary General Dr. Peter Mathuki has affirmed.
Speaking at the commemoration of the EAC Day in Arusha yesterday, Mathuki, said that the main aspiration of the Community was creating markets for its business people and producing a surplus for export.
He noted that Tanzania has surpassed Kenya in terms of exports and has also increased its exports to Uganda.
“Tanzania exported goods worth US$510 million to Kenya and imported US$450 million from Kenya. Opening up of Partner States borders had witnessed increased trade volumes,” said Dr. Mathuki
He said infrastructure development and strengthening of financial markets would promote intra-regional trade and investment.
Meanwhile, the EAC yesterday marked the day it was founded with a series of corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities in Arusha city and an exhibition and open day at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
The theme of this year’s EAC Day Commemoration was ‘Towards an Integrated East Africa: Mitigating the Effects of Climate Change and Promoting Maternal Health.”
Staff of EAC Organs and Institutions started the day with a cleaning exercise at the Kilombero Bus Park in Arusha, the second largest bus park in the city that hosts several international organisations and is the hub of the tourism industry in north-western Tanzania.
EAC Secretary General Hon. (Dr.) Peter Mathuki later led the EAC staff in donating maternity delivery kits to the Levolosi Health Centre, a public health facility that neighbours the bustling Kilombero Municipal Market and has a maternity wing.
Each of the maternity delivery kits, which consists of, among other things, cotton wool, mackintosh sheet, surgical gloves, syringes and baby cloth is meant to enhance safe delivery and maternal health.
Speaking before he officially opened the EAC Day Exhibition and Open Day at the EAC Headquarters, the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers and Burundi’s Minister for EAC Affairs, Youth, Sport and Culture, Hon. Ezechiel Nibigira, hailed tree planting efforts in the region saying that an increased forest cover would mitigate the effects of climate change, a phenomenon on which the very existence of the human race is premised.
“There is a biting drought in the region due to failed rains over the past three years. The drought has brought untold suffering on our people with pastoralist communities losing millions of heads of livestock due to lack of water and pasture,” said Hon. Nibigira.