22 riders on road, EAC flags of grand race

ARUSHA: THE East African Community’s Secretary General Peter Mathuki, ceremoniously launched the 2023 edition of the Great African Cycling Safari (GACS) sending off a group of 22 cyclists who will embark on a journey across five partner states: Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda.

Speaking from the EAC Headquarters in Arusha during the flag-off event, Mathuki highlighted the significance of the GACS as an opportunity to convey the principles and objectives of EAC integration directly to the people of East Africa.

This epic cycling adventure, now in its annual iteration, serves not only as a sporting event but also as a platform to raise awareness about EAC integration and address various issues surrounding the process.

Mathuki said that the cyclists who are on the third leg of their tour that will take them to Tanga, Dar es Salaam and Dodoma before heading to Burundi will cover a total of 6,000 km by the time their trip ends in Uganda in mid-September.

“They engage in activities such as tree planting to conserve the environment and community and school dialogue as they cycle across the EAC Partner States. The cyclists have planted over 2,500 trees and established school and community clubs on climate in East Africa,” he said.

“They actively participate in a range of environmentally conscious activities, including tree planting initiatives aimed at conserving the ecosystem.

They foster community engagement through school dialogues, facilitating discussions on climate-related matters as they traverse the diverse landscapes of the EAC Partner States. Impressively,” he said.

“The cyclists have collectively planted an impressive count of more than 2,500 trees. Their dedication extends to the establishment of school and community clubs dedicated to raising awareness and addressing climate challenges in the East Africa region,” he emphasized.

The GACS Tour Lead and Organiser, John Balongo, emphasized on the importance of integrating economic and livelihood themes into the tour’s message, with the goal of fostering a sense of ownership of the integration process among the citizens of the EAC.

“We are very committed to evangelizing the EAC integration agenda around East Africa on our two wheels. We therefore appeal to your good office to support the project morally, financially, and materially. Additionally, we ask this event be included in the EAC’s annual calendar of activities as one of the projects that support the EAC work,” added Balongo.

“This will ensure its visibility and reach a wider audience and will not only help us garner more support but also showcase the EAC’s commitment to promoting sustainable initiatives in East Africa. We further ask the Secretariat and Partner States to recognize these young people for representing their countries in the region by flying their flags,” he added.

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