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Godfrey Olukya     27-11-2012

The Heads of State of the five EAC Partner States, including Kenya Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda  meet this week in Nairobi, Kenya for the 14th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State.

Meanwhile, the meeting of the EAC’s top most organ takes place Friday 30 November.

The Summit meeting will be preceded by a presidential retreat on infrastructure on Thursday 29 November and the launch ceremonies of the new EAC headquarters and the rehabilitated Arusha-Namanga-Athi River Road, in Arusha and Athi River Town respectively. Both ceremonies will take place on Wednesday 28 November.

At Friday’s Summit meeting, the Heads of State are expected to consider the Annual Report of the Council of Ministers for the period November 2011 – November 2012; a progress report of the Council of Ministers on the operationalization of the Single Customs Territory; as well as a Council report on South Sudan’s application to join the East African Community.

Among the other items due for consideration are reports of the Council of Ministers on the way forward on the Political Federation; as well as on the implementation of the Summit’s directive on extending the jurisdiction of the East African Court of Justice. A meeting of the Council of Ministers in preparation for the Summit concludes today in Nairobi.

In the same week, on Wednesday 28 November, the five Heads of State will officially open the newly constructed EAC headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania before launching the the rehabilitated Arusha-Namanga-Athi River Road in Athi River Town in Kenya.

On Thursday 29 November, the Presidents are due to attend the 2nd Heads of State Retreat on Infrastructure, which follows the 1st Retreat of Heads of States of EAC that was held in Kigali in June 2008 and  identified development of infrastructure as key to the region’s integration and overall socio-economic development.

The Retreat is expected to discuss priority regional infrastructure projects as well as funding options for the same.

The idea to build the EAC headquarters was conceived back in 1996 when the Secretariat of the Permanent Tripartite Commission was launched. However, the process only started effectively when the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania allocated the headquarters site, measuring 9.85 acres to the EAC.

The EAC headquarters entails a complex covering a total built up area of 15,025 square meters, made up of three wings of four storeys each. The building has been designed with maximum flexibility in case there’s a need for future extension and to adapt to the local climatic conditions.

The construction project was officially commissioned by the EAC Heads of State on 20 November 2009, although actual construction work began on 28 January 2010. The project was fully funded by the Federal republic of Germany to the tune of 14.8 million euros.
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