Speech by H.E. Pierre NKURUNZIZA, President of the Republic of Burundi and Chairperson of the Summit of the East African Community, on the official launch of Trade Mark East Africa
1er-02-2011
Gervais Abayeho

Nairobi, Kenya, February 1st, 2011 (PP) :

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. Allow me first of all to thank God the Almighty, for leading me, and my delegation, to this important ceremony.

2. On behalf of the People of Burundi, and on my own behalf, I wish to very sincerely thank the leadership of Trade Mark East Africa for the Invitation extended to all of us to come and attend the Official launch of the activities of Trade Mark East Africa.

3. This is an illustration of your determination to push our Community towards sustainable development.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

4. I am informed that Trade Mark East Africa seeks to support the East African integration by unlocking economic potential through :

• A reduction in transport and related costs along the key corridors in East Africa ;

• Supporting East African Institutions to set up a comprehensive framework for regional integration ;

• Partnership with Member States to considerably implement a comprehensive framework for regional integration ; and

• Engaging the Private Sector and Civil Society to positively influence regional integration policies and practices for the growth in trade.

5. As you are all aware, the central theme for this event is focused on the importance of moving the integration agenda forward. That is why the slogan for the event is : “East Africa, it is time !”

6. Yes ! “It’s time for integration, the reduction of poverty, increased trade, prosperity, and the implementation of the Protocols, and drivers of the integration ; it is time to create deeper awareness and participation, time to create a mindset shift such that the People of East Africa can think and act East African”.

7. During this year of Burundi chairmanship in East African Community, we shall do our best to have the Common Market Protocol implemented, to prioritize the removal of Non Tariff Barriers (NTBs), especially for land-locked countries like Burundi and Rwanda, as we face the cost of all accumulated NTBs. Infrastructures and regional projects will be given the importance they deserve, with priority to the central corridor, for a fully fledged Customs Union.

Excellencies Ladies and Gentlemen

8. Since its inception in August 2010, Trademark East Africa has already done a very good work. It introduced 14 new independent single windows, and the first point of entry schemes to reduce paperwork and time to process goods on the Northern and Central transport corridors ; and supports the Government departments across the region, to develop a system to track the implementation of the EAC Customs Union and Common Market.

9.Trade Mark East Africa also works with business people and Civil Society organisations to understand and respond to business needs, streamline Government procedures, and improve the investment climate, to conduct trade more efficiently along the corridors.

10.Trade Mark East Africa supports a program aimed at strengthening institutional, financial and administrative system capacities in the EAC General Secretariat.

11.Talking specifically about Trade Mark East Africa Program for Burundi, I highly appreciate the work already done and the spirit of friendship accompanying all the process.

12. With a five-year program funded by DFID, Belgium and other partners, with a regional funding, Trade Mark East Africa will work on the improvement of transport and facilitation of trade, capacity building in English skills and negotiation techniques with a view to facilitating the implementation of EAC regional integration in Burundi, support to the private and non-governmental sectors.

13.Trade Mark East Africa supported the creation of OF BURUNDI REVENUE AUTHORITY in 2010. I am proud of the work done in a transparent way of revenue collection.

14.I am assured that with this support of Trade Mark East Africa, along with good will from other Partners and Friends of the East African Community, commerce within the EAC will be deepened and facilitated.

The Right Honorable Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya Excellencies Ladies and Gentlemen

15. I wish to conclude these few remarks by expressing once again my gratitude towards Trade Mark East Africa, for their unfailing support to the integration process in our community, which is becoming more inclusive and more solid.

16. It is my hope and desire that during this year, and the years to come, with the shared commitment to support each other from inside the Community, and from our partners and Friends, our community will grow stronger, and will lead our countries and peoples to more sustainable development.

17.Last, but not least, I would like to call upon the media to be aware of their responsibilities, to portray what is beneficial to the community ; the media must be perceived as key regional players, ready to promote EAC identity and image. It serves no good to report that stronger economies will swallow the so-called weak economies, as we read in some newspapers across the region ! The media, I insist, should rather help to showcase what each country has got to offer to the region, and they should strive to demonstrate that the EAC is bracing for greater efficiency and effectiveness. In short, media themselves must take interest in ‘EAC promotional stories’, for greater visibility and competitiveness in other regional blocks and beyond.

18.It is with these remarks that I declare officially open the activities of Trade Mark East Africa, and it is my belief that recommendations from this forum shall contribute to make our Community more solid.

Long live Trade Mark East Africa Long Live the East African Community Long Live International Cooperation God Bless You All Thank you for your kind attention

 
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