East African Community

East African Community

Overview
The East African Community (EAC) is an intergovernmental organisation comprising the five east African countries Burundi
Burundi
Burundi , officially the Republic of Burundi , is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its capital is Bujumbura...

, Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

, Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

, Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

, and Uganda
Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

. Pierre Nkurunziza
Pierre Nkurunziza
Pierre Nkurunziza is a Burundian politician who has been President of Burundi since 2005. He is the Chairman of the National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy , the ruling party in Burundi, and also the current Chairman of the East African...

, the President of the Republic of Burundi, is the current Chairman of the East African Community. The EAC was originally founded in 1967, collapsed in 1977, and was officially revived on July 7, 2000. In 2008, after negotiations with the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, is a free trade area with nineteen member states stretching from Libya to Zimbabwe. COMESA formed in December 1994, replacing a Preferential Trade Area which had existed since 1981...

 (COMESA), the EAC agreed to an expanded free trade area including the member states of all three.
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Encyclopedia
The East African Community (EAC) is an intergovernmental organisation comprising the five east African countries Burundi
Burundi
Burundi , officially the Republic of Burundi , is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its capital is Bujumbura...

, Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

, Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

, Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

, and Uganda
Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

. Pierre Nkurunziza
Pierre Nkurunziza
Pierre Nkurunziza is a Burundian politician who has been President of Burundi since 2005. He is the Chairman of the National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy , the ruling party in Burundi, and also the current Chairman of the East African...

, the President of the Republic of Burundi, is the current Chairman of the East African Community. The EAC was originally founded in 1967, collapsed in 1977, and was officially revived on July 7, 2000. In 2008, after negotiations with the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, is a free trade area with nineteen member states stretching from Libya to Zimbabwe. COMESA formed in December 1994, replacing a Preferential Trade Area which had existed since 1981...

 (COMESA), the EAC agreed to an expanded free trade area including the member states of all three. The EAC is one of the pillars of the African Economic Community
African Economic Community
The African Economic Community is an organization of African Union states establishing grounds for mutual economic development among the majority of African states...

.

The EAC is a potential precursor to the establishment of the East African Federation
East African Federation
East African Federation is the name of the proposed political union of the member nations of the East African Community, such that the five member states would federate into a single sovereign state....

, a proposed federation
Federation
A federation , also known as a federal state, is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central government...

 of its five members into a single state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

. In 2010, the EAC launched its own common market for goods, labour and capital within the region, with the goal of a common currency by 2012 and full political federation in 2015.

The East African region covers an area of square kilometres with a combined population of about (July 2009 est.) and has significant natural resources. Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

 and Tanzania have had a relatively peaceful history since achieving independence, in contrast to the wars and civil strife that have occurred in Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

, Burundi
Burundi
Burundi , officially the Republic of Burundi , is a landlocked country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Its capital is Bujumbura...

, and Uganda
Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

. Today, East Africa seeks to maintain stability and prosperity in the midst of ongoing conflicts in the D.R. Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

, and the Horn of Africa
Horn of Africa
The Horn of Africa is a peninsula in East Africa that juts hundreds of kilometers into the Arabian Sea and lies along the southern side of the Gulf of Aden. It is the easternmost projection of the African continent...

. The most prevalent languages of East Africa are Swahili
Swahili language
Swahili or Kiswahili is a Bantu language spoken by various ethnic groups that inhabit several large stretches of the Mozambique Channel coastline from northern Kenya to northern Mozambique, including the Comoro Islands. It is also spoken by ethnic minority groups in Somalia...

, English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

, Kirundi
Kirundi
Kirundi, also known as Rundi, is a dialect of the Rwanda-Rundi language spoken by some 8.7 million people in Burundi and adjacent parts of Tanzania and Congo-Kinshasa, as well as in Uganda. It is the official language of Burundi...

 and Kinyarwanda, although French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 is also common in Burundi and Rwanda.

History



Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda have had a history of co-operation dating back to the early 20th century. The customs union between Kenya and Uganda in 1917, which the then Tanganyika
Tanganyika
Tanganyika , later formally the Republic of Tanganyika, was a sovereign state in East Africa from 1961 to 1964. It was situated between the Indian Ocean and the African Great Lakes of Lake Victoria, Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika...

 joined in 1927, was followed by the East African High Commission from 1948 to 1961, the East African Common Services Organization from 1961 to 1967, and then the 1967 to 1977 East African Community.

Inter-territorial co-operation between the Kenya Colony
Kenya Colony
The Colony and Protectorate of Kenya was part of the British Empire in Africa. It was established when the former East Africa Protectorate was transformed into a British crown colony in 1920...

, the Uganda Protectorate and the Tanganyika Territory
Tanganyika Territory
Tanganyika Territory was a British colony between 1919 and 1961. Prior to the end of the First World War was part of the German colony of German East Africa. After the war had broke out, the British invaded the German East Africa, but were unable to defeat the German Army...

 was first formalised in 1948 by the East African High Commission. This provided a customs union
Customs union
A customs union is a type of trade bloc which is composed of a free trade area with a common external tariff. The participant countries set up common external trade policy, but in some cases they use different import quotas...

, a common external tariff
Common external tariff
When a group of countries form a customs union they must introduce a common external tariff. The same customs duties, import quotas, preferences or other non-tariff barriers to trade apply to all goods entering the area, regardless of which country within the area they are entering...

, currency and postage; and also dealt with common services in transport and communications, research and education. Following independence, these integrated activities were reconstituted and the High Commission was replaced by the East African Common Services Organisation, which many observers thought would lead to a political federation between the three territories. The new organisation ran into difficulties because of the lack of joint planning and fiscal policy, separate political policies and Kenya's dominant economic position. In 1967 the East African Common Services Organisation was superseded by the East African Community. This body aimed to strengthen the ties between the members through a common market, a common customs tariff and a range of public services so as to achieve balanced economic growth within the region.

In 1977, the East African Community collapsed after ten years. Causes for the collapse included demands by Kenya for more seats than Uganda and Tanzania in decision-making organs, disagreements with Ugandan dictator Idi Amin
Idi Amin
Idi Amin Dada was a military leader and President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979. Amin joined the British colonial regiment, the King's African Rifles in 1946. Eventually he held the rank of Major General in the post-colonial Ugandan Army and became its Commander before seizing power in the military...

, and the disparate economic systems of socialism in Tanzania and capitalism in Kenya. The three member states lost over sixty years of co-operation and the benefits of economies of scale, though some Kenyan government officials celebrated the collapse with champagne. Each of the former member states had to embark, at great expense and at lower efficiency, upon the establishment of services and industries that had previously been provided at the Community level.

Later, Presidents Moi
Daniel arap Moi
Daniel Toroitich arap Moi was the President of Kenya from 1978 until 2002.Daniel arap Moi is popularly known to Kenyans as 'Nyayo', a Swahili word for 'footsteps'...

 of Kenya, Mwinyi
Ali Hassan Mwinyi
Ali Hassan Mwinyi is a Tanzanian politician. He was the second President of the United Republic of Tanzania from 1985 to 1995. Previous posts include Interior Minister and Vice President...

 of Tanzania, and Museveni of Uganda signed the Treaty for East African Co-operation in Arusha, Tanzania, on 1993, and established a Tri-partite Commission for Co-operation. A process of re-integration was embarked on involving tripartite programmes of co-operation in political, economic, social and cultural fields, research and technology, defence, security, legal and judicial affairs.

The East African Community was finally revived on November 30, 1999, when the Treaty for its re-establishment was signed. It came into force on July 7, 2000, twenty-three years after the total collapse of the defunct erstwhile Community and its organs. A customs union
Customs union
A customs union is a type of trade bloc which is composed of a free trade area with a common external tariff. The participant countries set up common external trade policy, but in some cases they use different import quotas...

 was signed in March 2004 which commenced on January 1, 2005; Kenya, the region's largest exporter, continued to pay duties on goods entering the other four countries on a declining scale until 2010. A common system of tariff
Tariff
A tariff may be either tax on imports or exports , or a list or schedule of prices for such things as rail service, bus routes, and electrical usage ....

s will apply to goods imported from third-party countries.

Political dimensions


It is argued that key drivers for Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda are that Kenya wishes to export surplus capital, Uganda seeks an outlet for its surplus labour and Tanzania wants to realise a Pan-African vision. However, it is argued the commonalities go far deeper. Many of the national elites old enough to remember the former Community often share memories and a sharp sense of loss at its eventual dissolution. More cynically, others argue this historical ambition provides the potential for politicians to present themselves as statesmen of a higher order, as representatives of a greater regional interest. Furthermore, EAC institutions bring significant new powers to dispose and depose to those who serve in them.

Some question the extent to which the visions of a political union are shared outside the elite and the relatively elderly, further arguing the youthful mass of the population is not well informed about the process in any of the countries, while others point to an enhanced sense of East African identity developing from modern communications. Commitment to the formal EAC idea is relatively narrow, in both social and generational terms, and thus many question the timetable drawn up for the project. Fast-tracking political union was first discussed in 2004 and enjoyed a consensus on the subject among the three presidents of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Thus, a high-level committee headed by Amos Wako of Kenya was commissioned to investigate the possibility of speeding up the process of integration so as to achieve political federation sooner than previously visualised. Yet there are concerns rapid changes would allow popular reactionary politics against the project. There is an argument however, that there are high costs that would be required at the beginning and that fast-tracking the project would allow the benefits to be seen earlier.

There remain significant political differences between the states. Museveni's success in obtaining his third-term amendment raised doubts in the other countries. The single-party dominance in the Tanzanian and Ugandan parliaments is unattractive to Kenyans, while Kenya's ethnic-politics is not apparent in Tanzania. Rwanda has a distinctive political culture with a political elite committed to building a developmental state, partly in order to safeguard the Tutsi group against a return to ethnic violence.

Other problems involve states being reluctant to relinquish involvement in other regional groups, e.g. Tanzania's withdrawal from COMESA but staying within the SADC bloc for the Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations with the European Union. Many Tanzanians are also concerned, because creating a common market means removing obstacles to the free movement of both labour and capital. Free movement of labour may be perceived as highly desirable in Uganda and Kenya, and have important developmental benefits in Tanzania, however in Tanzania there is widespread resistance to the idea of ceding land rights to foreigners, including citizens of Kenya and Uganda.

While generally the member nations are largely in favor of the East African Federation
East African Federation
East African Federation is the name of the proposed political union of the member nations of the East African Community, such that the five member states would federate into a single sovereign state....

, informal polls indicate that most Tanzanians (80% of its population) have an unfavorable view. Tanzania has more land than all the other EAC nations combined, and some Tanzanians fear landgrabs by the current residents of the other EAC member nations.Kenya: Tears for Mt Elgon as Schools Re-OpenSabiny Demand Land as Karamajong Raid Reduce Land scarcity is a recurring issue in East Africa, particularly in Kenya, where clashes on the Kenyan side of Mount Elgon
Mount Elgon
Mount Elgon is an extinct shield volcano on the border of Uganda and Kenya, north of Kisumu and west of Kitale.- Physical features :It is the oldest and largest solitary volcano in East Africa, covering an area of around 3500 km²....

 in 2007 left more than 150 dead and forced at least 60,000 away from their homes.

Expansion


Tanzania supports the expansion of the East African Community. In 2010, Tanzanian officials expressed interest in inviting Malawi
Malawi
The Republic of Malawi is a landlocked country in southeast Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, and Mozambique on the east, south and west. The country is separated from Tanzania and Mozambique by Lake Malawi. Its size...

, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia
Zambia
Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

 to join the EAC, but Malawian Foreign Affairs Minister Etta Banda said there were no formal negotiations taking place concerning Malawian membership.

The presidents of Kenya and Rwanda invited the Autonomous Government of Southern Sudan to apply for membership upon the independence of South Sudan
South Sudan
South Sudan , officially the Republic of South Sudan, is a landlocked country located in the Sahel region of northeastern Africa. It is also part of the North Africa UN sub-region. Its current capital is Juba, which is also its largest city; the capital city is planned to be moved to the more...

 in 2011, and South Sudan was reportedly an applicant country as of mid-July 2011. As of early-October, South Sudan is said to officially become a member in the future. Analysts suggested that South Sudan's early efforts to integrate infrastructure, including rail links
Rail transport in South Sudan
South Sudan has narrow-gauge, single-track railroads that connect Babonosa with Wau. The line was damaged in the civil war, in which several parts of it were mined; the line was fully rehabilitated with United Nations funds....

 and oil pipelines, with systems in Kenya and Uganda indicated intention on the part of Juba to pivot away from dependence on Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

 and toward East Africa. Reuters
Reuters
Reuters is a news agency headquartered in New York City. Until 2008 the Reuters news agency formed part of a British independent company, Reuters Group plc, which was also a provider of financial market data...

 considers South Sudan the likeliest candidate for EAC expansion in the short term, and an article in Tanzanian daily The Citizen that reported East African Legislative Assembly
East African Legislative Assembly
The East African Legislative Assembly is a sub organ of the larger East African Community, being the Legislative arm of the Community. Members are sworn in to five-year terms.-History:...

 Speaker Abdirahin Haithar Abdi said South Sudan was "free to join the EAC" asserted that analysts believe the country will soon become a full member of the regional body. On 17 September, the Daily Nation
Daily Nation
The Daily Nation is a Kenyan independent newspaper. It is the most influential newspaper in Kenya with a daily circulation of about 205,000 copies. The total readership is likely to be higher as each copy is read by a large number of people...

quoted a South Sudanese MP as saying that while his government was eager to join the EAC, it would likely delay its membership over concerns that its economy was not sufficiently developed to compete with EAC member states and could become a "dumping ground" for Kenyan, Tanzanian, and Ugandan imports. This was contradicted by President Salva Kiir, who announced South Sudan had officially embarked on the application process one month later.

Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

 has applied to join the EAC, but its membership is strongly opposed by Tanzania and Uganda, which contend that due to Sudan's lack of a direct border with the EAC, its allegedly discriminatory actions toward black Africans
Black people
The term black people is used in systems of racial classification for humans of a dark skinned phenotype, relative to other racial groups.Different societies apply different criteria regarding who is classified as "black", and often social variables such as class, socio-economic status also plays a...

, its record of human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 violations, and its history of hostilities with both Uganda and candidate country South Sudan, it is ineligible to join and its application should be thrown out.

Importance of the customs union


The key aspects of the customs union include:
  1. a Common External Tariff (CET) on imports from third countries;
  2. duty-free trade between the member states; and
  3. common customs procedures.


Different rates are applied for raw materials (0%), intermediate products (10%) and finished goods (25%), the latter percentage is fixed as the maximum. This represents a significance decrease from what was previously the maximum in Kenya (35%), Tanzania (40%) and Uganda (15%). However, this customs union is not yet fully implemented, because there is a significant list of exclusions to the Common External Tariff and tariff-free movement of goods and services. Technical work is also needed to harmonise and modernise the customs procedures in the EAC's major ports of entry.

The expected revenue benefits are understood to be minimal by many analysts, based on comparative-static simulation exercises demonstrating the one-off impacts of the immediate introduction of the CU's full tariff package. The findings suggest an increase in intraregional trade that is largely the result of trade diversion, not trade creation, with some aggregate welfare benefits in Kenya and Tanzania but welfare losses in Uganda. From a trade-integration perspective, the EAC may not be the best chosen unit, because the current trade between the three countries is small compared to their external trade, and the EAC's citizens do not represent a large market in global terms, given the very low average incomes.

Emerging business trends


Business leaders are far more positive than economists about the benefits of EAC integration, its customs union as a step in the process, as well as the wider integration under COMESA. The larger economic players perceive long-term benefits in a progressively expanding regional market. Pattern of regional development are already emerging, including:
  • Kenyan firms have successfully aligned to the lower protection afforded by the EAC CET and fears that firms would not adjust to a 25% maximum CET, or would relocate to Tanzania or Uganda have not been realised.
  • An intraregional division of labour is developing that results in basic import-processing relocating to the coast to supply the hinterland. The final stages of import-processing (especially those bulky finished goods that involve high transportation costs) and natural-resource based activities, are moving up-country and up-region, either within value chains of large companies or different segments located by firms in different countries.
  • Trade in goods and services has already increased as service provision to Kenyans and Tanzanians is already important for Uganda (in education and in health). Kenya exports financial services, for example via the Kenya Commercial Bank and purchase and upgrading of local operators in Tanzania, Uganda and Sudan. Uganda hopes integration will help support its tourism potential through integration with established regional circuits.
  • There are signs a business culture oriented to making profits through economics of scale and not on protectionism.

Poverty reduction


East African economies have large informal sectors, unintegrated with the formal economy and large business. The concerns of large-scale manufacturing and agro-processing concerns are not broadly shared by the bulk of available labour. Research suggest the promised investments on the conditions of life of the region's overwhelmingly rural poor will be slight, with the significant exception of agro-industrial firms with out-grower schemes or that otherwise contribute to the coordination of smallholder production and trade.

It is informal trade across borders that is most often important to rural livelihoods and a customs union is unlikely to significantly impact the barriers that this faces and taxes are still being fixed separately by countries. However, the introduction of one-stop border posts being introduced and the reduction in tariff barriers are coming down progressively.

The establishment of a common market will create both winners (numerous food producers and consumers on both sides of all borders) and losers (smugglers and the customs, police and local government officers who currently benefit from bribery at and around the borders) in the border areas. More substantial impact could be attained by a new generation of investments in world-market production based on the region's comparative advantages in natural resources (especially mining and agriculture) and the new tariff structure creates marginally better conditions for world-market exporters, by cheapening inputs and by reducing upward pressures on the exchange rate.

Common market



On 1 July 2010 Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki
Mwai Kibaki
Mwai Kibaki is the current and third President of the republic of Kenya.Kibaki was previously Vice President of Kenya for ten years from 1978–1988 and also held cabinet ministerial positions, including a widely acclaimed stint as Minister for Finance , Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for...

 officially launched the East African Common Market Protocol, an expansion of the bloc's existing customs union that entered into effect in 2005. The protocol will lead to the free movement of labour, capital, goods and services within the EAC. Member states will have to change their national laws to allow the full implementation of some aspects of the Common Market such as immigration and customs. This legislation may take up to five years for each of the countries to enact fully but official recognition of the common market took place on . Kenya expects that its citizens will begin to enjoy freedom of movement in the EAC within two months. Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi have already agreed to waive work permit fees for EAC citizens. The Common Market is seen as a step towards implementation of the common currency by 2012 and full political federation in 2015. Kenyan businesses complain that the benefits of the Common Market only exist on paper by 2011, and that all the work remains to be done. Arbitrary rules and delays continue to make trade between Kenya and Tanzania expensive and difficult.
The free movement of people in the EAC is set to be improved with the introduction of "third generation" ID cards. These cards will identify the holder as a dual citizen of their home country and of "East Africa". Third generation cards are already in use in Rwanda with Kenya set to introduce them in July 2010 and the other countries following afterwards. Mutual recognition and accreditation of higher education institutions is also being worked towards as is the harmonisation of social security benefits across the EAC.

Future plans


The new treaty may be fast tracked, with plans drawn up in 2004 to introduce a monetary union with a common currency, the East African shilling
East African shilling
The shilling was the currency issued for use in British controlled areas in East Africa from 1921 until 1969. It was produced by the East African Currency Board...

, some time between 2011 and 2015. There were also plans for a political union
Political union
A political union is a type of state which is composed of or created out of smaller states. Unlike a personal union, the individual states share a common government and the union is recognized internationally as a single political entity...

, the East African Federation
East African Federation
East African Federation is the name of the proposed political union of the member nations of the East African Community, such that the five member states would federate into a single sovereign state....

, with a common President (initially on a rotation basis) and a common parliament by 2010. However, some experts like those based out of the public think tank Kenya Institute of Public Policy Research and Analysis
Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis
The Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis is an autonomous public institute whose primary mission is to provide quality public policy advice to the government of Kenya and to the private sector in order to contribute to achievement of national development goals...

 (KIPPRA), noted that the plans were too ambitious to be met by 2010 because a number of political, social and economic challenges are yet to be addressed. The fast tracking is currently the subject of National Consultative discussions, and a final decision was to be taken by the EAC Heads of State in mid-2007.

Single tourist visa



It had been hoped that an East African Single Tourist Visa may have been ready for November 2006, if it was approved by the relevant sectoral authorities under the EAC's integration programme. If approved the visa will be valid for all three current member states of the EAC (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda). Under the proposal for the visa, any new East African single visa can be issued by any member state's embassy. The visa proposal followed an appeal by the tourist boards of the partner states for a common visa to accelerate promotion of the region as a single tourist destination and the EAC Secretariat wanted it approved before November's World Travel Fair (or World Travel Market) in London. When approved by the East African council of ministers, tourists could apply for one country's entry visa which would then be applicable in all regional member states as a single entry requirement initiative.

East African Court of Justice


The East African Court of Justice
East African Court of Justice
The East African Court of Justice is a treaty-based judicial body of the East African Community tasked to ensure adherence to law in the interpretation and application of and compliance with the East African Treaty of 1999. The Court is made up of two divisions: a First Instance Division and an...

 is the judicial arm of the Community. The court has original jurisdiction over the interpretation and application of the 1999 Treaty that re-established the EAC and in the future may have other original, appellate, human rights or other jurisdiction upon conclusion of a protocol to realise such extended jurisdiction. It is temporarily based in Arusha, Tanzania.

East African Legislative Assembly


The East African Legislative Assembly
East African Legislative Assembly
The East African Legislative Assembly is a sub organ of the larger East African Community, being the Legislative arm of the Community. Members are sworn in to five-year terms.-History:...

 (EALA) is the legislative arm of the Community. The EALA has 27 members who are all elected by the National Assemblies of the member states of the Community. The EALA has oversight functions on all matters that fall within the Community's work and its functions include debating and approving the budget of the Community, discussing all matters pertaining to the Community and making recommendations to the Council as it may deem necessary for the implementation of the Treaty, liasing with National Assemblies on matters pertaining to the Community and establishing committees for such purposes as it deems necessary. Since being inaugurated in 2001, the EALA has had several sittings as a plenum
Plenary session
Plenary session is a term often used in conferences to define the part of the conference when all members of all parties are to attend.These sessions may contain a broad range of content from keynotes to panel discussions and are not necessarily related to a specific style of delivery.The term has...

 in Arusha, Kampala and Nairobi.

The current Speaker of the assembly is Abdirahin Haithar H. Abdi. The Second Assembly has been credited with crucial bills, particularly those regarding regional and international trade, including EAC's stand on issues such as the World Trade Organisation and transport on Lake Victoria.

East African passport



The East African passport was officially launched on 1999. The East African passport has been introduced as a travel document to ease border crossing for East Africans. It is valid for travel within the EAC countries only and will entitle the holder to a multi entry stay of renewable six months' validity in any of the countries. The passport is issued in three of the five EAC member states (Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

, Uganda
Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

 and Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

). The passports are available at the Headquarters of the respective Immigration Departments in Nairobi
Nairobi
Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The city and its surrounding area also forms the Nairobi County. The name "Nairobi" comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to "the place of cool waters". However, it is popularly known as the "Green City in the Sun" and is...

, Kampala
Kampala
Kampala is the largest city and capital of Uganda. The city is divided into five boroughs that oversee local planning: Kampala Central Division, Kawempe Division, Makindye Division, Nakawa Division and Lubaga Division. The city is coterminous with Kampala District.-History: of Buganda, had chosen...

 and Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam , formerly Mzizima, is the largest city in Tanzania. It is also the country's richest city and a regionally important economic centre. Dar es Salaam is actually an administrative province within Tanzania, and consists of three local government areas or administrative districts: ...

. Only East African nationals may apply to be issued with the passports. The passport costs US$10 or the equivalent in EAC currencies. Processing of applications for the passports will normally take two to three weeks. Although the passport is only valid within the EAC, modalities of internationalizing the East African passport were being discussed with the aim towards having a common travel document for East Africans by 2006.

Other measures meant to ease border crossing for East Africans include the issuance of interstate passes (which commenced on 2003), a single immigration Departure/Entry card (adopted by all three member states), the finalization of harmonized procedures of work permits and the classification process, and the compilation of studies on the Harmonization of Labour Laws and Employment Policies (now in its final stages).

Internet in East Africa


Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

 use in East Africa is still very low compared to developed countries. East Africa is a solid economic bloc with over a combined population of . It is estimated that 10% of East Africans – – actively use the Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

. The EAC strategy emphasizes economic co-operation and development with a strong focus on social dimension. Most East Africans use the internet to check news, read email and for social networking. More recently, there are several emerging EAC online platforms that amalgamate East Africa. Internet speed is also low in East Africa compared to developed countries. This is perhaps one of the main hindrances for online growth in East Africa.

Secretaries-General

  • Francis Muthaura
    Francis Muthaura
    Francis Kirimi Muthaura is a prominent Kenyan civil servant. Muthaura is a close ally of President Mwai Kibaki. He is the Head of Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet....

     (Kenya) (1996–2001)
  • Amanya Mushega
    Amanya Mushega
    Nuwe Amanya Mushega, commonly known as Amanya Mushega, is Ugandan lawyer, politician, diplomat and civil servant. He formerly served as the Secretary General of the East African Community, from 2001 until 2006. He was appointed to that position by the East African Community Heads of State in 2001...

     (Uganda) (2001–2006)
  • Juma Mwapachu (Tanzania) (2006–2011)
  • Richard Sezibera
    Richard Sezibera
    Dr. Richard Sezibera is Rwandan physician, politician, diplomat and civil servant. He is the current Secretary General of the East African Community. He was appointed to that position by the East African Community Heads of State on 19 April 2011 for a five year term. -Education:Richard Sezibera...

     (Rwanda) (2011–present)

See also

  • East African Community Treaty
    East African Community Treaty
    The East African Community Treaty was signed on November 30, 1999 in Arusha, Tanzania between President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi of Kenya, President Yoweri Kaguat Museveni of Uganda and President Benjamin William Mkapa of Tanzania. The accord established the East African Community whereby all...

  • Economy of Africa
    Economy of Africa
    The economy of Africa consists of the trade, industry, and resources of the people of Africa. , approximately 922 million people were living in 54 different countries. Africa is by far the world's poorest inhabited continent...

  • List of Trade blocs
  • Intergovernmental Authority on Development
    Intergovernmental Authority on Development
    The Intergovernmental Authority on Development is an eight-country regional development organization in East Africa. Its headquarters are located in Djibouti City....

     (IGAD)
  • Southern African Development Community
    Southern African Development Community
    The Southern African Development Community is an inter-governmental organization headquartered in Gaborone, Botswana. Its goal is to further socio-economic cooperation and integration as well as political and security cooperation among 15 southern African states...

     (SADC)
  • Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
    Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
    The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, is a free trade area with nineteen member states stretching from Libya to Zimbabwe. COMESA formed in December 1994, replacing a Preferential Trade Area which had existed since 1981...

     (COMESA)
  • Economic Community of Central African States
    Economic Community of Central African States
    The Economic Community of Central African States is an Economic Community of the African Union for promotion of regional economic co-operation in Central Africa...

    (ECCAS)

External links