- Rwandan president Paul Kagame has vowed to improve efficiency of the East African Community, saying regional economic bloc should be more effective.
According to a statement from EAC secretariat, Mr Kagame, chair of EAC said among priority projects and programmes would be promotion of East Africa as a single tourist destination and introduction of a common visa for tourists and business persons.
"EAC will also intensify programme of elimination of non tariff barriers (NTB) under the ongoing programme of the EAC Customs Union and the negotiations of the EAC Common Market," said a statement.
Mr Kagame also said he would organise a collaborative effort of all organs and institutions of the five-member regional bloc, to steer EAC to a new era of greater efficiency and effectiveness, stating that immediate measures would be aimed at reducing costs of doing business in East Africa.
He continued that EAC was operating in a dynamic and challenging environment, adding that his contribution would be to render EAC into a more efficient and effective regional organisation focused on its mission to realise expectations and desires of East African people in greater liberty, unity and prosperity.
Mr Kagame said regional infrastructure development will be prioritised in his tenure as a new chair of EAC, with plans to build harbours as well as Lake Victoria investments.
"The programme of marketing and promoting East Africa as a single tourist destination, which was launched in 2005, had proceed well with the EAC partner states participating jointly in the leading travel and tourist source markets in Europe," the statement said.
He further directed EAC tourist boards to extend joint marketing of East Africa to Asia, Far East, Australia and America, stating that EAC had great tourist potential with significant multiplier effects on the economies of the five countries.
President also noted that aviation industry had great strategic significance to the EAC regional integration and development.
He said the tourism industry would also be among the priorities of his tenure, including revival of the East African Flying School / East African Aviation School in Soroti, Uganda, for training of pilots and aviation engineers.
He said the aviation industry in East Africa would be revamped with promotion of investments to the sector to raise aviation standards and safety, open and safe skies and overall air traffic management in the region to the highest competitive levels.
EAC seeks economic development for its membership and enhance economic cooperation for its members.
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