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If the East African Community (EAC) is to live to see its dreams of having full integration come true, there is need for the youth to play a role. There is no way achievements can be made without taking into consideration the contribution of the youth since the latter are the pillars on which the future is built. It is in this spirit that EAC through its Youth Ambassadorship wing organized a debate for university students from across Rwanda to echo their views on EAC harmonization policies. The event was hosted by Kigali Independent University ULK on 10th May, 2018.

In his welcome remarks, Dr. SEKIBIBI Ezechiel, the Vice Chancellor of Kigali Independent University ULK, thanked the organizers of the event for having thought about ULK to host an event of such a great importance. He also called upon the youth to do their best to benefit from the opportunities within EAC bloc.

“I’m delighted to be part of this event, and I’d like to thank East African Community for having organized this event and specifically the fact that they chose ULK to host it. I’d therefore request young people to make use of the opportunities found in EAC to better uplift themselves while contributing the advancement of their motherland”, he told the youthful participants.

Also in attendance were Mr. David Michael Onen, Head of Political Affairs in the EAC Secretariat, Mr. Oswald Nyakana(who was also the Chief Guest), Officer in charge of Education, Culture, and Sports in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation , Mr. William Furaha, SPU Coordinator in the Ministry of Youth, Mr. Jean Baptiste Manirakiza, Director of the Language Center at ULK, Mr. David Ntambiye , the Executive Director of Aspire Debate Rwanda, to mention but a few.

In his statement, Mr. William Furaha, SPU Coordinator in the Ministry of Youth, put it that there are projects that the Ministry of Youth has put in place and some it is still working on to enable young people to position themselves in this competitive world. He mentioned for example the African Union Youth Volunteer Corps which aims at calling upon young African people to voluntarily engage into services within a given period and acquire experience which might in one way or another earn them jobs.

“At the ministry of youth, we do everything possible to ensure that our young people are enabled to benefit from a number of opportunities that might be found in EAC or on the African continent as a whole. For example there is a program of AU which encourages the youth to take part in volunteer services and we sensitize our young people to join since it may bring them lots of benefits”, he told the gathering.

The motion on which the debaters gave their points was, “this house believes that harmonization of regional economy will boost countries’ individual economies”. It is a motion that both the proposition side and the opposition side proved to have searched. They could provide convincing facts and statistics to prove that they really understand what harmonization is all about. Good to say, ULK debaters, Shyaka Jesse Rayson and Nishimwe Ariane , outshone to the extent that they left the participants looking in awe.

The Chief Guest, Mr. Oswald Nyakana, Officer in charge of Education, Culture, and Sports in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, thanked the debaters and reiterated that the knowledge of what EAC is all about leads to countless opportunities including scholarships.

“I’d like to thank the debaters for the outstanding debating skills they’ve showcased to us. They’re undoubtedly good debaters and they’ve proven to better understand EAC harmonization policies. Indeed, EAC and Africa at large are home to a number of scholarships that are awarded to ,among other beneficiaries, Rwandan youth, through the ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. It’s up to the youth to always remain on alert and apply once scholarships opportunities open up”, he told the participants.

It is the award giving exercise along with a group photo which marked the end of the function.


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