EAC Secretary General flags off 22 cyclists participating in regional cycling tour
East African Community Secretariat, Arusha, Tanzania, 17th August, 2023: The East African Community (EAC) Secretary General, Hon. (Dr.) Peter Mathuki, on Wednesday flagged off 22 cyclists who are participating in the 2023 edition of the Great African Cycling Safari (GACS) that will take them 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. The cyclists were flagged off in Jinja, Uganda on 1st August, 2023. More than 1,000 cyclists are expected to join the core cycling team at different stages as they ride across the Partner States.
The annual cycling tour is held purposely to sensitise East Africans on the EAC integration process beside promoting other issues surrounding the integration. This year the focus is on promoting efforts to boost food security and mitigating the effect of climate change.
Flagging off the cyclists at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Dr. Mathuki said that the GACS was an excellent opportunity to market the EAC integration to its actual owners, the ordinary people of East Africa.
“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.
“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,” said Mr. Middeke.
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.
“We are very committed to evangelising 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 that this event be included in the EAC`s annual activity calendar of activities as one of the projects that support the EAC work,” said Mr. 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 E. Africa. We further ask the Secretariat and Partner States to recognise these young people for representing their countries in the region by flying their flags,” he added.
Also present at the event were the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of the Infrastructure, Productive, Social and Political Sectors, Hon. Andrea Aguer Ariik Malueth and his Customs, Trade and Monetary Affairs Expert, Ms. Annette Ssemuwemba.
For more information, please contact:
Simon Peter Owaka
About the East African Community Secretariat:
The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of seven Partner States, comprising the Republic of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Kenya, the Republic of Rwanda, the Republic of South Sudan, the Republic of Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001: 2015 Certified