Retired President Benjamin Mkapa has said the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) has successfully elevated the profile of women and provided them an important platform in their quest for empowerment in the society.
The third phase Tanzanian president said this during an audience with Ambassador Liberata Mulamula in his office in Dar es Salaam on Monday.
He congratulated the envoy on the successful and peaceful mission during her five year tenure, as Executive Secretary of the ICGLR. He said she has made Tanzania proud in promoting peace and security in the Great Lakes Region.
Mkapa added that her successful mission has elevated women’s profile in the region and world over.
For her part, Ambassador Mulamula said her mission to start up the ICGLR Secretariat and lead the organisation through its infancy stage was not an easy assignment given the state of many countries at the time, especially Burundi, the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda.
The aftermath of genocide in Rwanda, the rebellion in Burundi and the armed groups in eastern DRC were the major challenges facing the ICGLR, as a regional initiative for peace, stability and development.
Ambassador Mulamula particularly hailed efforts being made by regional leaders in supporting the Burundi peace process that paved the way to an amicable conclusion of the rebellion in the country; joined the East African Community and held peaceful elections in 2010.
The joining of EAC opens opportunities in investment, trade and tourism in this poorest nation, said the envoy.
She also praised efforts and commitment made by Member States to hold Ministerial Level Meetings every six months that has facilitated forging a great understanding between the member states and adopting common approaches in the search for durable peace and security across the region.
However, they both noted that there is still not enough sensitisation on the importance of regional integration in the region. They viewed integration as key factor for promoting inter-regional trade and industrialisation in a bid to achieve sustainable economic development.
Ambassador Mulamula has been succeeded by Professor Ntumba Luaba of DRC, former Human Rights Minister and Deputy Executive Secretary of CEPGL (Communaute Economique des Pays des Grands Lacs - Economic Community of the Great Lakes Region).
ICGLR has eleven members. They include Angola, Burundi, Central Africa Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Rwanda, Republic of Congo, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.