The New Times Kigali James Karuhanga
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The East African Community (EAC) has made significant progress toward shared use of military industrial facilities, an official said during a meeting in Kigali yesterday.

Col. Francis Mbindi, Tanzania’s defence liaison officer at the EAC Secretariat, told reporters that officials from EAC partner states will tour Rwanda’s facilities and determine which ones can be put to shared use.

« The good news is that Partner States are willing to share those facilities. We are able to exchange technologies and are able to make orders from those facilities, and so on, » Mbindi, who was speaking at a two-day meeting of chief executives of regional military industrial facilities availed for shared utilisation, said.

The meeting, in line with the EAC defence sector calendar, is a follow up on a similar session held in June in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.

The purpose of the Kigali meeting, Mbindi said, is to consider the roadmaps formulated by Rwanda on the offered facilities for joint utilisation of the adopted regional format, and visit the facilities availed by Rwanda.

« In Rwanda, there are several facilities we will tour and see how best to use them among our EAC armed forces. We have a number of defence industries among other EAC partner states already approved for shared utilisation. In Tanzania, we have Mzinga Corporation which produces armaments and other defence material. In Uganda, Kenya and other partner states, we also have facilities. »

During the Dar-es-Salaam session, the chief executives had considered presentations from partner states on the defence technical facilities offered for joint use and exchanged information on progress status.

At the meeting, Rwanda presented new facilities, including road construction chip seal technology and agroPy products. Rwanda also informed the Dar meeting that the Kinyinya Asphalt and Concrete plant was ready for joint use.

Tanzania’s Mzinga Corporation is reported to have a fully functional ammunition line availed for joint use.

In June, Kenya informed other states that its trademark and patent certificates from the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) were also ready for joint use.

Among others, Kenya also informed its peers that all requisite machinery for food processing is projected to be imported by year end. Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are also working on a joint research and development project to benefit the entire Community

Joint research and development in the production of raw materials from locally available resources between the Tanzanian corporation and Uganda’s Luwero Industries Ltd – an ammunition facility – is reported to be in advanced stages.

Meanwhile, the Uganda Military Engineering College has in the recent past seen extensive repairs and renovations carried out and is said to ready for joint use by the EAC partner states.

Burundi is reportedly being urged to fast-track formulation of its roadmap using the adopted EAC structure.

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