Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni on Monday morning joined fellow East African leaders in the Rwandan capital Kigali for the 3rd Infrastructure Summit.
Presidents Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan, President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Republic of Kenya and their host Paul Kagame are the other leaders attending the summit.
The leaders welcomed South Sudan to the initiative and are expected to launch the Single Customs Territory and review the progress of infrastructure projects led by each country.
Leaders from Tanzania and Burundi are conspicuously missing from the summit.
The summit is an initiative bringing together the four countries to fast track regional development through infrastructure, trade and political and economic integration.
At the inaugural Tripartite Summit held in Entebbe in June this year, leaders of Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda spearhead different components of joint projects: Uganda committed to lead the railway development and political federation sector; Rwanda on customs, single tourist visa and East African Community e-identity card; and Kenya on the implementation of the oil pipeline and electricity generation.
The follow-up summit held in Mombasa saw the heads of state participate in the commissioning of Berth 19, which will increase capacity of the Kenyan port to serve the entire region.
Tanzania ‘Stalling Integration’
The East African Community (EAC) has in the recent raised concerns over Tanzania’s commitment to the regional integration process.
The EAC Secretary General Dr Richard Sezibera recently hit out at those dilly-dallying over integration process, saying they were missing the point.
Dr Sezibera said Tanzania has faltered on a number of key issues agreed upon by EAC regional States including the liberation of its current accounts and waiving of work permit fees.
“We don’t have compelling powers over those countries which seem not to be co-operating with the process of regional integration but the EAC treaty provides for the Secretary-General to take a country that is lagging behind to court. But this is a long process,” Sezibera was quoted by the media recently.
Tanzania’s commitment to regional integration has been under sharp focus since Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania agreed to revive the defunct EAC in 1997. Tanzania has been viewed as a reluctant party to the integration process.
Tanzania’s absence at the Monday summit further raises raises fears over its government’s commitment to the regional integration efforts.