The East African Community was formed/established on 6th June 1967 after signing the Arusha treaty by the heads or presidents Jomo Kenyatta – Kenya, Julius Nyerere – Tanzania, and Milton Obote – Uganda.
It was under the guidance of Kjeld Phillips – a United Nations Professor and expert in
international relations and the treaty came into effect (operation) on 1st December 1967.
The EAC aims to create a common market, facilitate the free movement of goods, services, people, and capital, and promote economic growth and development in the region. It strives to achieve these objectives through various mechanisms and programs, including:
- Customs Union: The EAC member states have established a customs union, which allows for the free movement of goods within the region. This includes the elimination of tariff barriers and the harmonization of customs procedures.
- Common Market: The EAC is working towards the establishment of a common market, which seeks to facilitate the free movement of services, labor, and capital within the region. This aims to promote investment, enhance economic opportunities, and create a conducive business environment.
- Monetary Union: The EAC member states have plans to form a monetary union with a common currency. This would involve the coordination of monetary and fiscal policies to promote stability and facilitate economic integration.
- Infrastructure Development: The EAC focuses on developing and improving regional infrastructure, including transportation networks, energy systems, and information and communication technology (ICT) connectivity. This aims to enhance regional connectivity, trade facilitation, and economic integration.
- Sectoral Cooperation: The EAC promotes sectoral cooperation in areas such as agriculture, health, education, tourism, trade, and investment. Member states collaborate on policy development, knowledge sharing, and joint initiatives to address common challenges and harness shared opportunities.
- Peace and Security: The EAC recognizes the importance of peace and security in the region. It works towards resolving conflicts, promoting stability, and enhancing regional cooperation on security matters. This includes joint efforts in peacekeeping, conflict resolution, and capacity building in security institutions.
- Political Cooperation: The EAC encourages political dialogue, cooperation, and good governance among member states. It promotes democratic principles, respect for human rights, and the rule of law as fundamental values in the region.
The EAC Secretariat, based in Arusha, Tanzania, serves as the administrative and coordinating body of the organization. Decision-making is carried out through various organs, including the Summit of EAC Heads of State, the Council of Ministers, the Sectoral Councils, and the East African Legislative Assembly.
Through its regional integration efforts, the EAC aims to foster economic growth, enhance competitiveness, and improve the well-being of the people in East Africa. It seeks to create a united and prosperous East African community that promotes cooperation, peace, and shared development among its member states.