Rwanda: Kagame Takes Part in ECCAS Summit

President Paul Kagame on Thursday, July 30 participated in the 17th Conference of Heads of State and Government of Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) held virtually.

This was the first summit since the organization's institutional reforms were adopted on December 18 2019.

Rwanda in 2015 rejoined the 11-nation economic bloc eight years after pulling out of the regional bloc.

Rwanda had pulled out of the regional bloc in 2007, but in 2015 it confirmed its interest to return to the bloc, which has a population of over 158 million and GDP of $257 billion.

Rwanda had joined the organization at its inception in 1983, but left in 2007, a decision that the government said was based on the country's interests, the orientation of international diplomacy and African economy.

Among the reasons Rwanda sought to rejoin was to make the most of the benefits that would advance towards goals such as the expansion of the national carrier RwandAir. Membership of the bloc allows Rwanda to use treaties that allow for free movement of people and goods.

The recent reforms by the bloc include making countries more accountable such that a country that will not comply with requirements including making timely contributions to it will not be entitled to any support from ECCAS.

The bloc brings together Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda and Sao Tome and Principe.

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