The East African Community leaders held a meeting yesterday in which they agreed to adopt measures that will help in the fight against COVID-19.
A communique sent out by Don Wanyama, the senior press secretary to the President, said Yoweri Museveni and his counterparts – Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Salva Kiir of South Sudan held a meeting through video conferencing “in a warm and cordial atmosphere”.
According to the communique, the leaders agreed that partner states adopt a harmonized system for certification and sharing of COVID-19 test results.
Below is the full communique:
Heads of state consultative meeting of the East African community
1. The East African Community heads of state, their Excellencies President Paul Kagame of the Republic of Rwanda; President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Republic of Kenya; President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of the Republic of Uganda and President Salva Maryardit Kiir of the Republic of South Sudan held a consultative meeting of the East African Community heads of states through video conference on 12th May 2020. The heads of state met in a warm and cordial atmosphere
2. The Heads of State took note of the current status of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region and commended the ministers responsible for health, trade, transport and EAC affairs for their initiative in adopting a regional approach to the COVID-19 pandemic.
3. The Heads of State received the report of the joint meeting of ministers responsible for health, trade, transport and EAC affairs on the EAC regional COVID-19 response and commended partner states, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and African Centre for Disease Control (ACDC) for the efforts being made towards addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, and the steps taken to contain the disease and prevent further spread in the EAC region.
4. The Heads of State decided that partner states adopt a harmonised system for certification and sharing of COVID-19 test results.
5. The Heads of State took note of the EAC regional COVID-19 response plan and its key targeted interventions and directed the ministers responsible for health, trade, transport and EAC affairs to ensure that it complements the partner states’ national COVID-19 response plans.
6. The Heads of State noted that information sharing is key during a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic and directed the ministers responsible for health, trade, transport and EAC affairs to finalise and adopt an EAC digital surveillance and tracking system for drivers and crew on COVID-19 for immediate use by partner states.
7. The Heads of State took note of efforts by partner states in undertaking bilateral engagements to address cross-border challenges and the EAC secretariat mission that assessed the situation on clearance processes at the borders during the pandemic.
8. The Heads of State noted that the region’s key economic sectors are experiencing a slowdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as agriculture, trade, manufacturing and industry, tourism, hospitality and entertainment and directed partner states to prioritize regional value/supply chains to support local production of essential medical products and supplies including masks, sanitizers, soaps, coveralls, face shields, processed food, ventilators as part of efforts to combat COVID-19 in the region.
9. The Heads of State further directed partner states to facilitate farmers to continue farming activities during this pandemic and post COVID-19 period, support agro-processing and value chains as an import substitution measure and establish special purpose financing schemes for small and medium enterprises, to cushion them from the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
10. The Heads of State designated the ministers responsible for health, transport and EAC affairs to be the focal persons for the regional COVID-19 response under the leadership of the ministers of health
11. The Heads of State directed the focal persons to immediately work on a regional mechanism for testing and certification of truck drivers prior to their departure at the point of origin and every two weeks, and report to the heads of state.
12. The Heads of State expressed their appreciation to development partners for their continued support, particularly during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic.
13. The Heads of State agreed to meet regularly to address the response efforts and expressed the need for flexibility in the application of the EAC rules and procedures when faced with a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
14. Their excellencies, President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Republic of Kenya, President Salva Maryardit Kiir of the Republic of South Sudan and President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of the Republic of Uganda thanked the chair of the summit, His Excellency President Paul Kagame of the Republic of Rwanda for convening a well-organized meeting in a cordial atmosphere and requested that such meetings be held regularly.
15. Done by video conference and dated this 12th day of May 2020.