East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 13th August, 2019: A group of 15 cyclists who are participating in the 3rd East African Community Bicycle Tour (Tour d’EAC) were today flagged off at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
Flagging off the group of volunteer cyclists, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Planning and Infrastructure, Eng. Steven Mlote, hailed the cyclists for their efforts in complementing initiatives by the Secretariat to create awareness on the integration process.
Eng. Mlote noted that it was encouraging that the annual initiative which started with cyclists from Uganda only in 2016, had now expanded to include cyclists from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania.
He urged the cyclists to mobilize more youth in the region to appreciate the importance of regional integration as a way of empowering East Africans and making East Africa united and stronger.
The Deputy Secretary General said that the movement of the cyclists across the region had been made possible by the free of movement of persons as enshrined in the EAC Common Market Protocol.
Eng. Mlote assured East Africans that the Community was growing stronger with each passing day, adding that it had recorded many achievements which were gradually beginning to trickle down to ordinary East Africans.
In her remarks, Ms Joyce Kevin Abalo from the GIZ Office at the EAC Headquarters, assured the cyclists that the German Technical Cooperation would continue working closely with the EAC Secretariat to ensure that the event was a success.
Ms Abalo urged the cyclists to endeavour to complete the journey noting that success can only be attained through discipline and perseverance.
Speaking at the event, the Coordinator of the Tour D’EAC, Mr John Balongo, requested the EAC Secretariat to include the tour in its Calendar of Activities in the future.
“We also want to request that in future events, all ministries support individual cyclists from their respective countries,” said Balongo, adding that the group’s aim was to educate EAC citizens on the importance of a united East Africa.
“We seek to stir up interest of groups and individuals in the understanding of the land, and people of East Africa. Subsequently, this results into growing personal and group relationships across the region multiplying out into travel, trade and many other beneficial linkages,” he said.
Also present at the event was the EAC Director General, Customs and Trade, Mr Kenneth Bagamuhunda.
The 3rd Tour d’EAC was flagged off on 1st August, 2019 at the Independence Monument in Kampala by Uganda’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for EAC Affairs, Hon. Dr Ali Kirunda Kivejinja, and the Tanzanian High Commissioner to Uganda, H.E. Aziz Ponary Mlima. The cyclists arrived in Nairobi on the evening of Wednesday, 7th August, 2019 where they were hosted by the Ministry of EAC and Regional Development in Kenya one day later.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
The Tour d’EAC 2019 is expected to cover 4,300 km around East Africa over a period of 50 days. The aim of the Annual East African Bicycle Tour is to promote the spirit of East Africanness among the people of East Africa, the tourism and business potential of the Community while enhancing awareness about the social and cultural peculiarities of people and places in the EAC.
The ultimate goal of the initiative is to bring the citizens of East Africa to own the integration process as enshrined in the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC. The tour is also one of the activities to mark the Community’s 20th Anniversary.
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About the East African Community Secretariat:
The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of six Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudna, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
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