21 February 2018

East Africa: EAC Presidents Meet in Kampala for Summit

Tanzanian President John Magufuli travelled to Uganda Wednesday ahead of the East African Community (EAC) heads of State Summit in Kampala later this week.

President Magufuli held bilateral talks with his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni at State House Entebbe.

The two leaders agreed that Tanzania, suffering from a perennial sugar shortage, would import the commodity from Uganda.

"Sugar production in Tanzania is low. We always have a deficit in the months of January, February and March. Buying sugar from Uganda defines the business of EAC," said President Magufuli.

Mr Museveni is said to have appealed to Mr Magufuli to encourage Tanzanian traders to import sugar from Uganda.

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta will join the two leaders on Thursday at a presidential retreat on financing infrastructure and health and thereafter the heads of State summit at Speke Resort on Friday, his office confirmed Wednesday.

President Paul Kagame will not attend the summit, Rwanda deputy Foreign Minister, Olivier Nduhungirehe, told The EastAfrican.

"The president will be hosting Zambian President Edgar Lungu," Mr Nduhungirehe said, adding that Mr Kagame will be represented by Infrastructure minister James Musoni.

President Kagame absence at the summit comes amid growing tension between Rwanda and Uganda with the former accusing the latter of illegal detention of its citizens while Kampala accuses some Rwandans of espionage.

Of the other two EAC member states - Burundi and South Sudan - only Juba confirmed attendance.

Issues expected to be discussed at the regional meeting include infrastructure projects such as the oil pipeline and refinery, and the standard gauge railway.

Other issues are the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union, the intra-EAC trade and the membership of war-ravaged South Sudan.

Reporting by Dicta Asiimwe and Ivan R. Mugisha

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