Over 70 academics, civil society organisation members, political leaders and other stakeholders from Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Belgium are meeting in a regional policy dialogue to discuss how members countries Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL) can explore opportunities for sustainable development and stability in the Great Lakes Region.
Organised by Rwanda Governance Board and l’Université Saint-Louis-Brussels, regional policy makers are looking at available opportunities to sustain development in the region.
Opening the dialogue, Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana called participants to generate new ideas on how to fast track cross border trade and infrastructure development.
“Development, peace and good governance are closely linked between our countries regardless of our borders. I urge you all to help in formulating proposals that build on achievements and address problems,” said Minister Nsengimana, adding that “Africa should solve its own problems finding itself appropriate domestic solutions adapted to the region.”
Minister Nsengimana says CEPGL made tremendous progress especially, in its first two decades but stressed it has the capacity to achieve more regardless the conflict in the eastern DRC that has strained its operations.
“The potential of CEPGL as a framework, mechanism for stimulating collective peace and prosperity is real. It is high time for us to reverse the trend and think in order to find the best solutions,” said Minister Nsengimana.
UN Resident Coordinator, Dr. Lamin Momodou Manneh called participants to work hard to get the regional body fully operational since it would help expedite regional integration.
CEPGL was created in 1976 by Rwanda, Burundi and DRC with the objective of ensuring cooperation on security, promoting the development of activities of mutual interest like free movement of people and goods and establishing cooperation in political, economic and social domains.