BUJUMBURA, February 12th (ABP) – The Ministry of East African Community Affairs, Youth, Sports and Culture presented on Friday February 9, 2024, in Bujumbura, the major half-yearly achievements made from July 1 to December 31, 2023.
In his speech, Minister Gervais Abayeho indicated that those achievements cover 4 key areas of intervention of that ministry, namely the area of integration of Burundi within the East African Community, those of Youth, Sports and of the culture.
In the sector of the integration of Burundi within the East African Community, he mentioned the Chairpersonship of the Summit of the East African Community which was ensured by the Republic of Burundi from November 22, 2022 to November 24, 2023, under the aegis of the President of the Republic of Burundi.
Mr. Abayeho said that during this period, there was coordination of the participation of the Republic of Burundi in 118 physical regional meetings, including meetings relating to the analysis of the candidacy of the Republic of Somalia to the EAC, which resulted in its accession to this community during the 23rd Summit of Heads of State of the said community held on November 24, 2023 in Arusha, Tanzania. Also, he continued to say, meetings relating to the efforts of the EAC in relation to the restoration of peace in Eastern DRC took place.
The ministry also coordinated Burundi’s participation in 70 virtual meetings, 3 national consultation meetings as well as 16 meetings, some of which were for community decision-making and others of large regional and international scope, he added. Among those meetings, Minister Abayeho mentioned some of them like the 22nd Extraordinary Summit of EAC Heads of State held on September 5, 2023 in Nairobi, the 51st Virtual Extraordinary Meeting of the EAC Cabinet on September 13 2023, Special Virtual Meeting of the EAC Legislative Assembly held on September 19, 2023, Sector Council Meeting on Defense Sector Cooperation held in Nairobi on August 21-24, 2023, 50th Extraordinary Virtual Meeting of the EAC Cabinet held on 31 August 2023, the sector council on environment and natural resources held in Kigali from 23 to 27 October 2023, and the sector council on cooperation in the defense sector held in Dar-Es-Salaam from October 6 to 9, 2023.
In addition to those meetings, Mr. Abayeho revealed that his ministry held two retreats for the drawing up of the sectoral strategy for the development of statistics of the said ministry which were organized in Gatumba from December 11 to 15 and from December 18 to 22, 2023, and that this strategy was validated on December 27 to 29 in the same place. He also recalled that a workshop to validate the sectoral policy of his ministry was held and implemented from December 29, 2023 to January 3, 2024.
Furthermore, around 2,949 young people benefited from capacity building sessions in farming techniques in Kayanza and Ngozi provinces, Minister Abayeho revealed.
Among the achievements in the youth sector, he mentioned a retreat for young intellectuals (Youth Impulse) held from September 20 to 22, 2023 in Bujumbura. Moreover, the said ministry ensured the coordination of the organization of the work of the 2nd edition of the continental dialogue on youth, peace and security, as well as the youth forum of the countries having signed the framework agreement for peace, security and cooperation for the DRC. There was also work on the 3rd edition of the week dedicated to innovation (Innovation Week) which took place from December 11 to 16, 2023 in Bujumbura.
Concerning Sport, Minister Abayeho announced that Burundi participated in 27 international competitions, including 25 outings and two at home.
In the Culture sector, the national culture festival was held in Gitega, from September 29 to 30, 2023, under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Burundi. The 7th edition of the week dedicated to the emblematic dance of the Burundian drum was launched on November 27, 2023 and ended on December 2, 2023 in Gitega. Mr. Abayaho specified that 18 groups of drummers partook in the event.
As part of the monitoring of the construction of the cultural monument in the shape of the drum at the roundabout of the Melchior Ndadaye international airport, meetings were organized and OBUHA technicians designed a model for this purpose, he said. Regarding the achievements of the Burundi Reading and Cultural Animation Center (CEBULAC), a traditional Burundian song competition, accompanied by traditional musical instruments, was organized in Gitega. Minister Abayeho also indicated that 326 young graduates without professional experience were recruited and placed in various services for the first job internship in all provinces of the country.
He informed that the Youth Investment Bank (BIJE) granted loans amounting to 571 million BIF to 49 cooperatives of 449 young people, and that a one-person company benefited from a loan of 10 million BIF. For the youth economic empowerment and employment program (PAEEJ), 525 cooperatives including 168 in Ngozi, 141 in Gitega, 134 in Kayanza, 36 in Bururi, 33 in Mwaro and 13 in Rumonge received funding from of the PAEEJ.
It was reported that the number of young people involved in this program is 20 per cooperative, for a total of 10,500 young people.