Rwanda: Former Trade Minister Kanimba Appointed Eccas Commissioner

Former Minister of Trade and Commerce François Kanimba has been appointed as the Commissioner in charge of Common Market, Economic, Commerce and Financial Affairs of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).

This emerges following the 17th Conference of Heads of State and Government of ECCAS held virtually this week.

This was the first summit since the organisation's institution reforms on 18th December 2019.

Among the adjustments following the reforms is the appointment of an eight-member commission to replace the Secretariat General.

Kanimba's experience in his new appointment also comes from his previous experience as Central Bank Governor.

Gilberto Veríssimo, from Angola will serve as President of the Commission on a five-year term.

The reforms are expected to make the institution more efficient and to strengthen coordination among its 11 member states.

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.

Rwanda in 2015 rejoined the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), 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 organisation 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 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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