THE East African Community (EAC) Heads of State on Saturday held the 21st Ordinary Summit virtually, during which they appointed new Secretary General Dr Peter Mathuki to take the bloc’s wheel forward.
In the Summit, they appointed a man who has been at the forefront of lobbying for free borders in improving EAC intra trade as the EAC Secretary General.
Dr Mathuki who is the current Chief Executive Officer of the East African Business Council, took the oath of office virtually and will be taking over effectively April 26th this year.
The new SG who is a Kenyan politician pledged to work obediently towards more integration of the fast growing regional economic community in Africa. He is not new to EAC organs, as he has also been a member of the East African Legislative Assembly.
The outgoing Chairman of EAC Heads of State, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda thanked the outgoing SG, Ambassador Liberat Mfumukeko for a dedicated service to the EAC and its people.
Mr Kagame handed over virtually instruments of power to the incoming EAC Chairman of Heads of State, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, who said the bloc's systems, as of recent, have faced numerous challenges more than ever.
"But it is these very challenges that made us strong, as EAC organs worked out to mitigate them, specifically effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Let us continue with that spirit," said Mr Kenyatta who will be joined by Burundi as a rapporteur in the region.
Dr Mathuki has been spearheading the call for EAC member countries to remove trade barriers, have an open sky policy and cooperate so as to move forward as a region, with each country specialising in what it is best at.
Others coming at the helm of EAC organs are Justice Nestoru Kayobera and Anita Mughenyi at the EACJ. Mr Mfumukeko thanked the Summit for putting trust on him for the past five years and listed enormous success the region has enjoyed after tight foundations were laid.
Meanwhile, the East African Business Council (EABC) has showered praise upon the appointment of its Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Peter Mathuki to become the East African Community (EAC) Secretary General.
A statement released by the EABC said that Dr Mathuki has been instrumental in implementing the turn-around strategy of the Council under the vision of a borderless East Africa for increased business and investment.
“He has spearheaded many international, continental and regional high-level public-private dialogues aimed at resolving bottlenecks hindering the growth of intra-EAC trade and investment, such as the High-Level East African Business and Investment 2019," the Council said in its statement.
His diplomatic leadership improved recognition of the role of the private sector in the EAC from Observer Status to True Partner of the EAC regional integration agenda.
He has taken part in continental and international negotiations, where he successfully pushed for the formation of the African Business Council.
Dr Mathuki has been vital in pushing for business and economic resilience of the EAC bloc amid the Covid-19 pandemic, resolving Non-Tariff Barriers in the region and repositioning the EAC bloc to reap the benefits availed by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
"The business community joins his efforts and vision of steering intra-EAC trade to greater heights in his new role as the Secretary-General of the East African Community," EABC said.
Dr Mathuki is an expert in regional integration and has served in several regional organisations. He formerly served as a Member of Parliament of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), where he chaired the EALA Committee responsible for good governance and served in the Committee of Communication, Trade and Investment (CTI).
He previously served as a Director in charge of International Labour Standards (ILO) at the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU-Africa which later became ITUC-Africa) and later in the European Union (EU) programmes for Africa based in Asmara, Eritrea.
He sits in several boards, such as the Kenya Investment Authority (Ken Invest), Nairobi, Kenya, Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), Kampala, Uganda, and Centre of Excellence for ICT in East Africa (CENIT@EA) located at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in Arusha, Tanzania. He is also a member of the Kenya Institute of Management (KIM).
Dr Mathuki is passionate about regional integration and has played a vital role in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the formation of the African Business Council.
He was equally instrumental in the negotiation of the EAC Common Market Protocol and Regional economic issues since 2004.
He strongly supported the formation of various EAC platforms and instrumental in the EAC regional integration process. These platforms include the formation of East African Labour and Employees' Organisations in the EAC.