President John Pombe Magufuli who has retained the EAC chair was pleased to note that the Community has recorded a lot of progress including movement of goods with the transit time for goods from Mombasa to Rwanda reduced from 21 to 6 days and to Uganda by three days. He noted that the region was endowed with abundant resources.
Speaking on industrialisation at the 17th EAC summit, Magufuli called for industrialisation in the region.
“There is a critical factor for industrialisation. Today we produce commodities that we do not consume and we consume what we do not produce. This trend must stop,” he said noting that the community was working towards promoting textiles and leather industries in the region.
He thanked the East African leaders and other official for their contribution in promoting the Community.
Magufuli called for tolerance in the East African Community and said that while each country has its own challenges, the community must remain united for development.
Magufuli lashed out at the EAC secretariat for being extravagant saying while it budgeted for US$ 50 per person at the Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge.
He said the secretariat would have saved about US$20 dollars if they had held the conference at their headquarters.
He reminded the EAC officials that there was need to save for the sake of the poor people.
He stressed the urgency to save expenses.
He reminded them that they were there for the benefit of the poor population.
Magufuli while addressing the summit as the Chairman paid tribute to President Museveni for working tirelessly to enable the parties in Burundi to resolve their differences.
He prayed the East African member country gets lasting peace.
He looked forward to improved trade among the EAC members.