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East African Community (EAC)

Uganda is one of the founding members and a signatory to the East African Community (EAC) treaty. EAC is a regional intergovernmental organization of seven Partner States namely: The Republics of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and the Republic of Uganda. The work of the EAC is guided by its Treaty which established the Community. It was signed on 30 November 1999 and entered into force on 7 July 2000 following its ratification by the original three Partner States - Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. The Republic of Rwanda and the Republic of Burundi acceded to the EAC Treaty on 18th June 2007 and became full Members of the Community with effect from 1 July 2007. The Republic of South Sudan acceded to the Treaty and become a full Member on 15th August 2016. Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) formally joined the East African Community (EAC) following the signing of the Treaty of the Accession into the EAC in April 2022. EAC is home to an estimated 283.7 million citizens, of which over 30% is urban population. With a land area of 4.8 million square kilometers and a combined Gross Domestic Product of US$ 305.3 billion, its realization bears great strategic and geopolitical significance and prospects for the renewed and reinvigorated EAC.


The EAC operationalizes the Treaty through medium-term development strategies. currently, the EAC is implementing the 6th Development Strategy (2021/22-2025/26) which aims at infrastructure development, human capital for long-term skills development, consolidation of the EAC Common Market, funding of regional initiatives, strengthening the financing and banking systems, expanding savings and investment, Research & Development (R&D) and security and governance.,investment%20in%20the%20immediate%20future.



The Customs Union

This is the first Regional Integration milestone and became fully fledged in 2010. Under this pillar, EAC Partner States agreed to establish free trade (or zero duty imposed) on goods and services amongst themselves and agreed on a Common External Tariff (CET), whereby imports from countries outside the EAC zone are subjected to the same tariff when sold to any EAC Partner State.  However, goods moving freely within the EAC are expected to comply with the EAC Rules of Origin and all other provisions of the Protocol for the Establishment of the East African Community Customs Union.


In December, 2023, the EAC Council of Ministers adopted the Regional Framework for the supply and production of antibiotics. The 44th East African Community (EAC) Ordinary Council of Ministers meeting held in November, 2024 adopted the regional policy framework for the promotion of antibiotics production and supply in the EAC and a regional cooperation mechanism for information exchange for the production and supply of antibiotics.


Agriculture sector face several challenges when trading within the EAC region, including limited access to market information, cumbersome customs procedures, high costs, poor connectivity, and other obstacles. GIZ, together with the International Trade Center, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Uganda Coffee Development Authority, Solidaridad East Africa, Oxfam, and the Institute for University Cooperation are working on this program.

African Development Bank approves US$1.4 million for feasibility study of the multinational Kenya-Uganda Expressway project. In October 2023, the African Development Bank (AfDB) through its New Partnership for Africa’s Development and Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (NEPAD-IPPF) approved US$1.4 million grant to EAC for the feasibility study of the Multinational Kenya/Uganda: Kisumu-Kisian-Busitema-Busia Expressway Project. The Expressway project is part of the Northern Corridor that runs from Mombasa to Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda through the port of Mombasa. It is the main corridor that transports the bulk of cargo that lands at the Indian Ocean ports inland to the five landlocked EAC Partner Sates.

East African Community (EAC) – European Union (EU) develop joint roadmap to foster digital transformation in East Africa. In October 2023, he East African Community (EAC) in collaboration with the European Union (EU) kicked off the first EU-EAC Regional Conference on Digital Transformation in the East African Community, in Arusha, Tanzania. Both sides committed and agreed to foster a human-centric digital transformation in East Africa to utilise digital technologies and innovations for regional integration.

The two-day conference, facilitated by the Digital for Development (D4D) Hub, unite key stakeholders from the EAC region and European partners. This collaborative effort aims to assess the current state of digital transformation in the region and explore opportunities through a “Team Europe” initiative, which includes the EU and its Member States.


The Common Market

The second regional integration milestone, came into force in 2010.  It requires EAC Partner States to maintain a liberal stance towards the five Freedoms of movement for all the factors of production and two Rights between themselves. These Freedoms and Rights include:

  • Free Movement of Goods
  • Free Movement of Persons
  • Free Movement of Labour / Workers
  • Right of Establishment
  • Right of Residence
  • Free Movement of Services
  • Free Movement of Capital

EAC Partner States have kept momentum in facilitating free movement of goods, services, labour and capital.


The 23rd edition of the EAC MSMEs Trade Fair popularly known as the Jua Kali/Nguvu Kazi Exhibition commences in Bujumbura, Burundi. This was presided over by the H.E the Vice President of the Republic of Burundi and ran from 5th to 15th December, 2023 at the Cercle Hyppique Grounds in Bujumbura, Burundi has attracted more than 1,000 artisans from all the seven (7) EAC Partner State.  Under the theme of this year's fair is "Connecting East African MSMEs to enhance Intra-EAC Trade," which aligns with the EAC Heads of State's goal to increase intra-EAC trade by 50%.


East African Community Competition Authority (EACCA) and Fair Competition Commission of Tanzania sign bilateral agreement.  In November 2023, The EACCA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tanzania’s Fair Competition Commission (FCC) aimed at strengthening cooperation between the two authorities in the advancement of competition policy and law in the East African Community (EAC). 


The MoU signed in Arusha, Tanzania will also ensure that the implementation of EACCA and FCC mandates and activities enhance regional integration and facilitate cross-border trade. The MoU sets out modalities through which the two institutions will cooperate and coordinate their activities in regard to cross-border competition and consumer protection matters in the region.


East African Community in partnership with the European Union (EU) launched the second phase of the Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP II) in Arusha, Tanzania. Worth €40 million regional programme funded by the EU is set to unlock the full potential of agribusinesses within the EAC. MARKUP II will strengthen EAC’s small businesses through enhanced regional and international trade in close partnership with the East African Business Council, EAC Partner States, business support organizations, and local institutions.


The East African Monetary Union

This is the third regional integration milestone, which came into force in November 2013. It lays the groundwork for Monetary Union within 10 years and allows the EAC Partner States to progressively converge their currencies into a single currency in the Community. In the run-up to achieving a Single Currency, the EAC Partner States aim to harmonize monetary and fiscal policies; harmonize financial, payment, and settlement systems; harmonize financial accounting and reporting practices; harmonize policies and standards on statistical information; and, establish an East African Central Bank. So far, significant progress has been recorded in terms of Partner States currencies convertibility; harmonization of banking rules and regulations, fiscal and monetary policies, and trading practices and regulations in the Stock Exchanges.

Political Federation

The EAC's ultimate goal for regional integration is the Political Federation, which is the fourth step after the Customs Union, Common Market, and Monetary Union. It is established under Article 5(2) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community and has three pillars: common foreign and security policies, good governance, and effective implementation of prior integration stages. The attainment of the Political Federation is a process, rather than an event, and the EAC Heads of State resolved at a Special Summit in Nairobi on 27-29 August 2004 to explore ways to deepen and accelerate the process through a fast-track Mechanism. To finalize the work on the Political Federation, the Summit established the Wako Committee to conduct extensive consultations and present its report to the Summit on 29 November 2004. In 2006, the consultative process resulted in the establishment of the office of the Deputy Secretary-General responsible for the Political Federation. On May 20th, 2017, the EAC Heads of State adopted the Political Confederation as a transitional model for the East African Political Federation.

Negotiations between East African Community (EAC) and Federal Republic of Somalia for admission into EAC commence. In August 2023, EAC commenced nine-day negotiations for the entry of Republic of Somalia into the EAC. These negotiations brought together experts from the seven (7) EAC Partner States, the EAC Secretariat, East African Legislative Assembly and East African Court of Justice, and their counterparts from the Federal Republic of Somalia. The negotiations between the EAC and Somalia were being held in accordance with a directive by the 22nd Extraordinary Summit to the Secretariat and the Council to commence negotiations with Somalia.

Further, Somalia shares borders with one EAC Partner State, namely Kenya, and has strong historical, linguistic, economic and socio-cultural links with all the EAC Partner States. Somalia has the longest national coastline of over 3,000 kms in Africa, linking Africa to the Arabian Peninsula, which the region will tap into to increase intra-regional trade.