Cycling for a noble cause

THE East African Community (EAC) Secretary General, Peter Mathuki, on Wednesday flagged off 22 cyclists who are participating in the 2023 edition of the Great African Cycling Safari (GACS).

The race will take cyclists across five partner states, namely Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.

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 were flagged off in Jinja, Uganda on August 1.

More than 1,000 cyclists are expected to join the core cycling team at different stages as they ride across the Partner States.

“The purpose of this cycling safari is for the cyclists to create awareness around the integration by sensitising the communities on the itinerary of the bike tour even as they interact with them.

The cycling tour is in tandem with the wishes of the Summit of EAC Heads of State who have been keen on taking the integration to the people at the grassroots,” said Dr Mathuki.

Dr Mathuki further hailed the cyclists for using the safari to sensitise East Africans on the importance of promoting food security, ecological restoration and climate change, tourism, gender and human rights.

Speaking at the event, the Deputy Programme Manager of the EAC-GIZ Programme, Mr Max Middeke, noted that climate change had had a negative impact on food security situation in the region.

“Droughts and floods are becoming more frequent, and farmers especially small-scale ones are struggling to produce crops in these unpredictable conditions. This situation calls for urgent actions by all of us to respond to the devastating effects of climate on food security to address the alarming situation,” said Mr Middeke.

Mr Middeke said that the EAC-GIZ Programme has a long history of partnership and support with the cyclist since its establishment in 2016 when they made their first historic tour-de EAC as they promoted tourism in East Africa.

“We are happy that the Great African Cyclist Safari and its mission to promote sustainable socio-economic development, community development, and healthy lifestyles in East Africa have continued to date.

The GACs promotes people-centred integration through awareness creation on climate change and food security,” he added.

In his remarks, the GACS Tour Lead and Organiser, Mr John Balongo, said that by rallying around well picked themes that hint on economics and livelihoods of EAC Citizens, the tour would preserve the future of the integration by getting people to own the process.

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