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Kenyan Mueni Nduva Sworn in as First Woman EAC Boss
Kenyan Mueni Nduva Sworn in as First Woman EAC Boss
| June 7, 2024
Nduva’s immediate priority is to pursue fundraising efforts from donors as contributions are at an all-time low. Photo: EAC 

Kenyan Veronica Mueni Nduva has been appointed the first woman Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC), making history in the regional bloc.

Her appointment was approved during an extraordinary virtual summit led by bloc’s chair Salva Kiir, the President of South Sudan on Friday, May 7.

Notably, Kenyan President was absent, returning from Seoul via Dubai where he had attended the Korea-Africa Summit.

He was represented by his top diplomat Musalia Mudavadi.

Regional leaders picked Kenya’s Nduva to succeed the embattled bloc boss Peter Mathuki, who was recalled in March from the prestigious and powerful post in Arusha by President William Ruto over graft charges.

Mathuki has since been redeployed as Kenya’s ambassador to Russia.

Speaking after taking the oath as Secretary General, Ms. Nduva said that her tenure would be dedicated to promoting deeper integration and development of the people of East Africa.

She emphasised her key priorities, including strengthening economic integration to encourage innovation, entrepreneurship, and job creation, as well as maintaining peace and security.

Nduva, who until her appointment was serving as a principal secretary in Kenya also highlighted her focus on advancing social development, empowering women and youth, and infrastructure development with innovative financing solutions and public-private partnerships.

Tanzanian President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, urged the incoming Secretary General to improve the visibility of the EAC and address the lack of shared perception of integration benefits among East Africans.

Nduva, who has been serving as the Principal Secretary for the State Department for Performance and Delivery Management at the Ministry of Public Service in Nairobi, steps into her role amidst a financial crisis plaguing the bloc, with member states failing to fulfill their annual financial obligations.

South Sudan, chairing the virtual meeting, owes the bloc $8.6 million and faces possible suspension from EAC activities.

Nduva’s immediate priority is to pursue fundraising efforts from donors as contributions are at an all-time low.

Funding for planned regional activities relies on member states and donor assistance, with approximately half the budget provided by member states and the rest sought from development partners.

Her responsibilities are compounded by escalating tensions among member states, particularly concerning trade and security matters.

READ-EAC Summons Foreign and EAC Ministers to Address Integration Bottlenecks

Nduva’s resolution of these tensions and her approach to regional conflicts will shape the future direction of the EAC.

She reiterated her commitment to advancing the EAC’s goals, stating: “Your Excellencies, in promoting peace and security, a secure East Africa is the foundation upon which we can build lasting prosperity.”

She also emphasized the importance of addressing climate change collectively as a region, promoting green energy, sustainable agriculture, and resource mobilization.

President Salva Kiir of South Sudan declared that Juba will consult next month on EAC political federation to explore tighter political integration among member states.

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