‘Our advice to the people of East Africa is that we need to step forward and own the integration process. We shouldn’t leave it only to politicians. We the people are the ones who will benefit most from integration. Therefore, we should embrace initiatives aimed at fostering integration in our region’
– John Balongo, Director of Tour d’EAC –
The Tour d’EAC arrived at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha on Tuesday, 8 August 2017. Organised by the Campfire Logs Guild to raise awareness for the benefits of East African integration under the theme, ‘Fostering the integration by unlocking the potential of the East African community’, the Tour d’EAC covers more than 5,000 km by bicycle and crosses six borders through five East African countries.
Starting in Uganda via Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi Rwanda and back to Uganda, the participants are on the road 45 days. Stopping in villages and towns along the way, the Tour sensitizes citizens on the advantages of integration and mobilize support in favor of the vision of One People, One Destiny.
Staff members of the EAC-German Cooperation Programme joined the ambitious cyclists for the 85 km stretch from Longido to Arusha, where they were warmly welcomed by the EAC. Joyce Abalo Kimaro, Senior Advisor of the Incubator for Integration and Development (IIDEA), accompanied the Tour d’EAC, which had been supported by IIDEA in 2016, and opened the welcoming event. With a magnificent view of Mount Meru, the team could refresh and gather strength for the next stage of their journey.
Alhaji Rashid Kibowa, the EAC director of Trade congratulated the bikers on their sportive approach to making integration real and pledged the EAC’s support to the citizen initiative. EAC Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Stephen Mlote, officially flagged off the cyclists towards their next leg to Dar es Salaam.
With the committed activism undertaken by citizen-led initiatives, exemplified by the Tour d’EAC, the road to integration will surely be smooth.