Ministry of East Africa Community (EAC), Arid and Semi-arid Areas (ASALs) and Regional Development Kenya, Principal Secretary (PS) Mr. Abdi Dubat flagged off the 6th edition of the Great African Cycling Safari (GACS) at the Ministry’s headquarters in Nairobi.
The GACS is an annual bicycle tour to showcase the East African Community in all its beauty, multiplicity, and reflecting the cultural diversity of the people living in the East African region.
Flagging off the cyclists, the PS hailed the cyclists for their efforts in complementing initiatives by the Secretariat to create awareness on the integration process.
“This youth event aims at taking the EAC Integration Agenda to the people on the ground through highlighting regional and community issues and showcasing the opportunities offered by the EAC,” he said.
He said that the Great African Cycling Safari was an excellent opportunity to market the EAC integration to its actual owners, the ordinary people of East Africa.
“Youths from across the EAC partner States join this cycling event to take the EAC integration process from the level of abstract policy making in government offices to the people at the grassroots level to show that integration is alive and beneficial to all citizens,” said PS.
Dubat noted that the 1st regional cycling event began in the year 2016 under the banner of ‘Tour D EAC cycling and later evolved to ‘the Great Africa Cycling Safari’ (GACS) in 2021.
“I am glad to note that this year’s tour focuses on how climate change affects the region’s food security and safety and that more than 50 cyclists from the five EAC partner States have set out on a 6,000 kilometer journey traversing five of the seven EAC partner states in 55 days journey that began in Jinja the source of the Nile,” he said.
The PS at the same time urged the cyclist to consider including the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of South Sudan, in the next leg for the complete cycling of the EAC.
On his part, Mr. John Bosco, a team leader, noted that the tour of 2023 has three key aims at promoting the objectives of the EAC, promoting trade and tourism across the Community, and mitigating challenges posed by climate change.
“The cyclists drawn from five East African states are on a mission to promote free trade, tourism and a safe environment in regional countries by cycling for 6,000 kilometers,” he added.
By Hamdi Mohamud