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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 aimes 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 June 2023, Campaign to Raise Awareness about the Agri-Export Trade Opportunities Made Possible by the EU-EAC Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP) launched by the EAC. Through the campaign, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the agricultural value chain, co-operatives, and farmers, as well as government entities in the EAC will access information and tools on Agri-export trade. In the EAC-EU initiative, various materials such as market studies, practical guides, handbooks, and policy briefs have been created. This initiative has contributed to enhancing the quality infrastructure in the region by harmonizing standards and frameworks for trade in food products among member states. SMEs in the 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.

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.

EAC Partner States Awarded Scholarships for IUCEA-Kyundong University South Korea for Academic Year 2023/2024. In July, 2023A total of thirty-five (35) scholarships were awarded to applicants from the six (6) East African Community Partner States (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania & Uganda).   to promote sustainable and inclusive development in the EAC member countries by nurturing and delivering highly demanded professionals in the areas of Business AdministrationHotel Management and Tourism, and Smart Computing

IUCEA Commences Phase II Construction of Multi-Million-Dollar Headquarters Funded by EAC Partner States. In July 2023, the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) held a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the second phase of its Headquarters in Kampala. The project worth over USD8.4 million is expected to be completed within 18 months.

The IUCEA new building facility will sit on part of the 5-acre piece of land at Kyambogo Hill in Kampala. It will include offices, Resource Centre, Innovation and Incubation Centre for Research, a Cafeteria, a Conference hall, and a Data Centre. The land was offered by the Government of Uganda as part of its commitment to host the body as an institution of EAC. 

An Online Tool to measure performance of One Stop Border Posts unveiled.

In July 2023, The East African Community (EAC) unveiled an online tool called One Stop Border Post Performance Measurement Tool to measure the performance of the 22 One Stop Border Posts (OSBPs) across the EAC region. The OSBP Performance Measurement Tool will involve a range of measurements including time spent on administrative procedures, reduction of transport costs, reduction of inventory costs, and an increase in revenue collection and trade. Customs Administrators in the EAC region will use the data generated by the measurement tool to assess OSBP performance and institute improvement strategies.  Specifically, the tool has been developed to provide the necessary mechanism to measure the performance of OSBPs on six fronts, namely: Time, Cost, Volume/Throughput, Infrastructure, Inter-Agency Coordination and User Satisfaction.

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.