East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) MP Suleiman Shahbal has pledged to rally members of the region to focus on security and economic issues which he said are the key areas of interest for the region.
Shahbal spoke after being elected the chairman of the Communication, Trade, and Investment Committee in EALA, a prestigious and powerful committee in the regional parliament.
“I am honored and delighted to be elected Chairman of the Communication, Trade, and Investment Committee in EALA. I take this opportunity to sincerely thank my fellow EALA MPs from Kenya and the entire region for their support and confidence to have me lead this crucial committee,” he said.
One of the key functions of the committee is oversight of the work and activities of the sectoral committee of the EAC and the organs charged with the implementation of provisions in the leadership.
He said the election was an honor to Kenya as it is an opportunity for the country to spearhead the process of strengthening regional relationships, improving trade ties, and exploring investment opportunities.
The legislator said the East African region has a lot of commonalities and shared interests on matters of economy.
“Our export markets are not just our East African markets, our export markets have to be outside. We need to invigorate and start our special economic zones and this is something I’ve been talking about for the last 10 years. My first priority will be to push the economic agenda to the end,” he said.
He said there is a need to focus on increasing our exports rather than let regional restrictions hinder progress and “if necessary, we should drag the local economies with us.”
Shahbaz said for the economy to grow the security of the region must be ensured with all regional representatives playing an active role in maintaining it.
“We have seen the efforts that Kenya has put in to ensure DRC regains peace. Similar efforts are what we need from all member states in ensuring there is smooth cross-border trade as we work toward looking for collaborative investment opportunities,” he said.