The East African Community

The East African Community 

EAC looking into Ugandan VAT on Tanzanian rice
The East African Community (EAC) Secretariat is investigating allegations that Uganda charges 18 per cent value added (VAT) on rice from Tanzania. EAC’s Director of Customs and Trade, Peter Kiguta, said they are yet to receive a formal complaint from Tanzanian rice exporters but will still carry out investigations on the matter.“We have however contacted Uganda to give us a feedback on whether they are imposing VAT on the rice. If it is established that the VAT imposition is discriminative against Tanzanian rice the relevant provisions of the Customs Union Protocol will be invoked,” said Mr Kiguta in a statement.If found guilty, Uganda will be penalized accordingly, he noted in the statement responding to complaints from local rice producers.“And if the VAT is imposed across the board including locally produced rice then the national law will be left to apply since there will be no discrimination,” he noted. Read more
East African are increasingly using mobile money platforms than ever before Consumers in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania last year transacted $45.75 billion through their mobile phones — translating into 32 percent of their combined gross domestic product — up from $4.86 billion or 3.4 percent of GDP in 2009, the latest industry statistics show.The annual growth in volumes means that East African consumers are moving an average of $3.8 billion monthly or $125 million per day compared with the $13.3 million a day they transacted five years ago.The number of registered mobile money subscribers across the four countries was 82.3 million as at December last year, up from 29 million customers in 2009. Read more 

EAC economies are poised for a rapid growth this year.
The economic growth for the East African region is expected to increase from 6.5 per cent in 2014 to 6.8 per cent this year, according to a report by the Economic Commission for Africa.Titled “Towards a selective trade policy framework for industrializing Africa’’, the report shows that Africa’s overall GDP growth increase is reflected by GDP rebasing primarily in Nigeria but also in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia."Rebasing in these countries reduced their debt-to-GDP ratios, which improved their capacity to borrow on domestic and international markets and helped to lift investment in their productive sectors,” said Carlos Lopes, the executive secretary for ECA.Read more 
EAC needs $100 billion over the next decade to build reliable infrastructures 
The East African Community (EAC), which groups the five countries, said in a 2015-2025 strategy document it needs between $68 billion and $100 billion over the next decade to build roads, ports, railways, transmission lines and oil and gas infrastructure.The leaders of five East African countries went on a charm offensive early this week to lure investors for a massive plan to upgrade infrastructure in the region that has made big hydrocarbon discoveries.Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, whose combined economies are worth a total $110.3 billion, are working to package joint infrastructure plans aimed at boosting trade and speeding up economic integration in the region. Read more
Bill to remove trade barriers sails through
Regional traders can now breath a sigh of relief after a key bill on eliminating non-tariff barriers (NTBs) sailed through its third reading on Tuesday pending assent by heads of states.The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) passed Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers Bill 2015 after intense debate in Arusha.Discussion on the proposed law began but was later adjourned following a motion introduced by the chairman of the Council of Ministers, Abdullah Saadalla Abdullah, to allow for further consultations. Read more

Dar es salaam banks ranks first in GDP growth in Africa
Dar es Salaam has been ranked as the first city in Africa that records tremendous growth in terms of GDP.A new PwC report suggests that Cairo, Tunis and Johannesburg are the top three cities offering the best opportunities for future growth and investment prospects.Entitled Into Africa – the continent’s cities of opportunity, the report provides insights into 20 of the continent’s most dynamic and future-focused cities – information critical for attracting foreign investment. Read more

EAC ministers directed to expedite harmonisation of regional roaming charges
The East African Community’s council of Ministers has been directed to expedite implementation of the framework for harmonised EAC roaming charges, including the removal of surcharges for international telecommunications traffic originating and terminating within EAC.EAC Heads of State made the directives in Kenya’s capital Nairobi during the just-conclude 16th ordinary summit.In their communiqué, EAC leaders directed the council of ministers to study the modalities for promotion of motor vehicle assembly in the region and to reduce the importation of used motor vehicles from outside the community and report to the 17th summit. The summit also directed the council of ministers to study the modalities for the promotion of the textile and leather industries in the region and stopping the importation of used clothes, shoes and other leather products from outside the region and report to the 17th summit.Read more
Tanzania’s Kikwete takes over EAC chairmanship
ikwete took over the chairmanship during the 16th East Africa Community Summit in Nairobi. Speaking after taking over, Kikwete said there is need to eliminate non-tariff barriers to intra-community trade with about 24 of them still unresolved.He said the non-tariff barriers deny the EAC opportunity to unlock the immense promise of integration and starves businesses of innumerable opportunities.“Intra-EAC non-tariff barriers translate to impediments to our region’s competitiveness as a global investment destination denying us uncountable golden opportunities,” he added.He said that Tanzania is committed to stay on the course of regional integration.“EAC intra-trade has significantly grown and there is need to increase these investments, we need to support the small and medium enterprises to drive the growth,” he said. Read more 

EAC needs a regional standards body
There is no doubt that weight and measures play an integral part among the necessities of life for all citizens in our region but this needs to be clearly communicated and understood.Whereas, I find it vital to underscore the contributions made by each Standards Bureau in all the East African Community partner states towards facilitation of trade, quality control and enhancing productivity, I find the formation and commissioning of a regional standards bureau that is well facilitated and clearly mandated as a far better approach to address the loopholes we are experiencing in quality control in our imports and exports as a region.This could go a long way in addressing the flooding of fake and low quality goods currently distributed across the region. Read more
EAC: Enterprises to boost Eastern African trade
Helsinki. Enterprises working in the honey, mango and spice sectors in Eastern Africa are set to expand and become more competitive through a new project that targets sector-led growth in the region.The ‘Promoting Intraregional Trade in Eastern Africa’ project, implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and funded by the government of Finland, focuses on increasing exports from Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia.Representatives of the three countries as well as ITC and the Finnish Foreign Ministry, who together make up the project steering committee, met in Helsinki to discuss progress over the past year as well as work planned. Read more
Swiss firm, UK varsity team up to enhance EAC trade in service talks
Cuts International, Geneva and the University of Sussex’s CARIS in the UK are undertaking a series of interventions in East Africa member countries to improve institutional mechanisms, collection and use of services statistics, as well as understanding of issues in services competitiveness. Julien Grollier, Assistant Programme Officer at CUTS International speaking from Geneva said their centre will organise a workshop under the theme: “Support to Enhance Development of Trade in Services Negotiations” initiative. The workshop is expected to be held in the East African Community (EAC) this spring so as to improve institutional mechanisms of member states.Grollier also said that the entry into force of such preferences, by itself, will however not be enough for poorest countries like EA member states to develop their service sectors and take advantage of trade in them. Read more
Economic partnership agreement to hasten development among EAC states
An Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) signed between the East African Community (EAC) and 28 European countries will hasten development for over 500 million people in the region.Tanzania's Ambassador to Belgium and the European Union (EU) Diodorus Kamala has said that the EPA pact concludes lengthy negotiations. Kenya started implementing the protocol.Mr Kamala said resolutions reached in the Cotonou Agreement will continue to be in force, while other areas include political dialogue, economic and development cooperation."The EPA negotiations focus on cementing regional integration and to hasten development among member countries and ultimately rid poverty among low-income countries, including Tanzania. A special fund known as EPA Fund has been established to compensate countries which will incur losses. Read more
EA will from January enjoy cheaper cross-board calling rates 
 East African countries will enjoy cheaper cross-border calling rates following the removal of tariffs by the three countries.This means that mobile phone subscribers in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda on roaming will be charged less, while calling friends and family across the three East African countries. The decision was reached at the just concluded Summit for the Northern Infrastructure Project held in Nairobi, which was attended by Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta, Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame. Read more
MEAC: Dar es Salaam. Africa will launch its largest free trade area (FTA).
Encompassing member states of the East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and Southern African Development Community (Sadc), the FTA will create a market of over 800 million people in 26 countries from Cape Town to Cairo.The ministry of East African Cooperation said here that the EAC, Comesa, Sadc FTA would be signed by the heads of state from the 26 countries during their summit in Egypt.The FTA is seen as a solution to the problem of overlapping memberships among the 26 countries.The EAC which is already a common market, has four member states in Comesa and one member — Tanzania— is in Sadc. Five of the Sadc partner states are members of the Southern African Customs Union. Ten countries in the region are already members of customs unions. Read more
Are Comesa, EAC, SADC realistic in plotting Africa's free trade area?
East African Community and European Union comprehensive trade deal under Economic Partnership Agreement was initiated.This development was reached following intense lobbying and pressure from Kenya, the EAC most advanced economy and the only non least developed country in the bloc.Nairobi was desperate to have the EPA agreement initiated because its horticultural producers were facing a new tax regime in Brussels for the EAC's failure to kick start the free trade pact which will see heavily subsidized European producers export into the EAC or rather Kenya and by implication the EAC bloc, tax free.In a statement, the EU said that under the proposed EPA trade pact, exemptions are also included and cover mostly agricultural products which remain sheltered from EU competition and to allow time for domestic preparations. The EAC will liberalise progressively to 82.6 per cent of its imports after the pact enters into force. Read more
PH: EAC single tourist visa good for economies, say hotel owners
Tourism stakeholders hope the envisaged single tourist visa for the East African Community (EAC) will increase the contribution of the sector to economies of member states.They said at the Hospitality Roundtable in Tanzania that it was wrong to oppose the EAC single visa for tourists visiting the region.Peacock Hotels managing director Damas Mfugale urged local tourism stakeholders to support such a move because it was set to open up more opportunities for Tanzania to improve the sector, which faced a number of problems such as the shortage of requisite human resource.He listed other problems whose solutions could be found by adopting the single tourist visa as inadequate hotels of international standards, the shortage of investments to tap unexploited tourism avenues, poor skills to operate hotels and low tourism marketing techniques. Read more
East African economies are not creating enough jobs: MDG report
East African economies are not creating enough jobs or making life significantly better for the region’s youth, according to the newly launched Millennium Development Goals Report (MDG). This is one of reasons why rapid economic growth in the region has not substantially reduced poverty, states the report. The report shows that although an increasing number of youth are entering the labor market in Africa, the available job opportunities are too scarce.Africa has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world, with 27.2 percent of young people without work, up from 26.6 percent. Of all those unemployed, 60 percent are young people; youth unemployment rates are double those of adult unemployment in most African countries, the report notes.“Youth, who should be the powerhouse of productivity, are mostly left out of the growth process. This not only increases the dependency ratio, but also weakens the capacity of the middle class to transform economic growth. For instance, on average, 72 percent of the youth population in Africa live on less than $2 per day,” the report notes. “The incidence of poverty among young people in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Uganda, Zambia and Burundi is over 80 percent.” Read more
ADIL: EAC urged to establish strong climate policies for sustainable food security
East African Community partner states have been urged to put in place strong policies that encourage climate adaptation practices aimed at improving food security and resilience. This would include altering farm management practices and adopting new varieties such as crops and animal breeds more appropriate to future climate conditions. It would also mean having policies to discourage certain kinds of heavily emitting agriculture to reduce risks and slow down land-use changes.The remarks were made by Action Development and Regional Integration (ADIL) President, Godfroid Manirankunda in an exclusive interview held on the sidelines of the Third Regional Meeting of the PACT EAC Project in Bujumbura, Burundi.The conference was organised by CUTS International. Manirakunda said the economy of East African countries depends largely on agriculture hence the need to introduce policies that emphasise better farming methods that can help mitigate climate change or crop resilience. Read more
Tanzania seeks Omani investment in agriculture and minerals
Tanzania hopes its deep historical ties with the Sultanate will encourage Omani companies to invest in agriculture and mineral resources in the East African country. During her visit to Oman last week, the Speaker of the National Assembly of Tanzania, Anne Makinda, told the Times of Oman that her country was keen to promote opportunities for business between the two countries and asked local companies to consider tapping into her country's rich resources."Tanzania has abundant agricultural products, including a wide variety of crops. It is a very fertile country. We are also keen to promote investments in the livestock and I am sure Omani business people will find these two areas very profitable," said Anne Makinda. Read more 
EAC: Tanzanians want regional integration speeded up
Tanzanians have faith in the East African Community (EAC) and the majority want the country to raise the pace of the integration process, a new survey reveals. Nine out of every 10 people want Tanzania to remain in the community.Presenting the findings yesterday in Dar es Salaam, Twaweza Researcher Elvis Mushi said 85 per cent gave the nod to integration with Kenya and Uganda while six out of every 10 citizens also backed integration with Rwanda (62 per cent) and Burundi (59 per cent).The survey involving 1,408 respondents found that the majority of Tanzanians want a single tourist visa for the region, the ability to travel across the region with a national identity card, joint infrastructure projects, free movement of labour, a common passport, tax-free trade and a single currency. Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda have already using a single tourist visa.Said Mr Rakesh Rajan, who heads Twaweza: “The citizens have spoken almost with one voice on how strongly they support the integration process. The task for our policy-makers is to make sure they honour their demand, including making sure that Tanzania is in a strong position to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the integration.”
At the launch of the survey, former EAC. Read more
EAC: Set up packaging plants, EAC boss tells investors
East African Community’s Secretary General Dr Richard Sezibera has called on international and regional financiers to explore possibilities of investing in large scale packaging plants in the region.He made the call at the first edition of East Afripack exhibition organized by the Italy based Ipack-Ima Spa, the world renowned exhibition planner in the packaging and processing.East African Community Secretariat, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Kenya Ministry of Industrialisation and Enterprise Development also took part in the exhibition held in Nairobi, Kenya recently. Dr Sezibera underscored the importance of packaging and processing technologies as a critical component of EAC Industrialization Policy and strategy. He said the initiative will help meet the growing regional needs, which is currently filled by imports.According to him packaging and processing technologies should be in the context of agro-processing value chains, where food spoilage and post-harvest losses are prevalent due to inadequate packaging and appropriate processing techniques.He said the EAC has put in place an industrialization policy framework which places emphasis on the manufacturing sector, value addition and SME promotion. Read more
EAC: Greater intra-eac trade will spur faster economic growth
Recent news reports indicate that trade among East African partner states is growing by leaps and bounds. This is a positive development that regional leaders should seek to build upon and encourage.Rwandan exports to other East African Community countries, for instance, grew significantly in the first half of this year despite a poor showing in global markets. Exports to the EAC amounted to $97.8 million in the first half, up from $70.7 million in the same period last year. This represented a 38.6 per cent increase. Imports to Rwanda from the regional bloc, on the other hand, increased by 3.7 per cent from $239 million to $247.8 million in the same period. The main exports included tea, raw hides and skins of bovine, coffee, steel andiron rods, vegetables and malt beer. Major imports were cement, palm oil, fats and oils, fertilizers, second hand clothing and sugar.The growth of trade among East African countries comes against the backdrop of failed negotiations for a new Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union. The contentious areas have been referred to the political leadership of the two blocs for possible resolution following failure to clinch agreement by the technical teams. Read more
EAC leaders woo US investors
East African Presidents have asked US investors to invest on the continent and East Africa in particular owing to the available market.Presidents Yoweri Museveni, (Uganda) Jakaya Kikwete, (Tanzania) Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Paul Kagame (Rwanda)and Burundi's Pierre Nkurunziza were speaking during the Presidential Breakfast Discussion on regional growth and investment opportunities in East Africa held at the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC.The discussions followed the closure of the Africa-US summit which was hosted by President Barack Obama.Citing the East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Southern African Development Community (SADC),President Museveni said the progress of Africa was hinged on bigger markets and that Africa is on the right track with regional blocs.We are also discussing the African Common Market on tripartite arrangement between EAC, SADC and COMESA, he said.He also noted that economies of Africa in general and East Africa in particular were producing far below their capacity and everything is an opportunity.Museveni emphasized that figures speak better than words, noting that the rate of return on investments in Africa was 30 per cent and Asia 6 per cent which he agreed was a better guide. Read more
EAC regional fibre ring eases business connectivity
Businesses across the East African Community (EAC) will from now receive continuity of Internet connectivity and a much more reliable service following the completion of the regional Fibre Ring connecting Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and back into Kenya.“This is a huge milestone for East Africa. By providing our nations with a 21st century broadband network that directly connects us to each other and the outside world,” EAC Secretary General Richard Sezibera said Friday after Liquid Telecom announced that it had completed the building of the East Africa Fibre Ring. “Liquid Telecom continues to help the economic development of our region. I deeply admire, commend and give thanks to the company for their ongoing commitment, investment and resolve in creating a fibre ring of this scale,” he added. Read more

Tanzania prodded on single window
Tanzania has been urged to create a single window at border points so as to boost cross-border trade in the East African region. “There is a need for Tanzania government to create a single window at border points so as to make it easy for traders to conduct their business. The government must find ways to improve its infrastructure and eliminate all bottlenecks to doing business,” Erich Kieck, the Director of the World Customs Organization (WCO) said recently during a visit here.He said once Tanzania reduces the number of its agencies, more trade will be opened up.He said Tanzania has numerous agencies at its border posts which are negatively affecting cross-border trade. Kieck told East African Business Week during the two-day National Policy Dialogue organized by the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), if the government can work on this bottleneck it will then mean a faster expansion of business. Hesaid the existence of many government agencies not only increases the cost of doing business, but is also unfriendly in regards to saving time. Read more 
Widening rich-poor gap threat to EAC peace, security - expert
The widening gap between the rich and the poor has been described as a serious challenge towards peace and security in the East African countries this was revealed in a two-day East African Societies and Regional Security meeting which kicked off here last Friday. Leonard Onyonyi, an expert with the EAC secretariat, cited lack of citizen's data in east African countries as among the main causes of insecurity in the region. He said that terrorism was now ranked high as the most recurring threat of peace in the region and already, Kenya is experiencing daily attacks from this. In his paper, Onyonyi revealed that apart from terrorism, the region was already suffering other chaotic drivers as mapped in the threat assessments and these include high rates of unemployment, ethnic conflicts, cattle rustling, wildlife poaching and banditry and insecurity in regional water bodies among others. Read more 
East Africa region moves to cut costs of doing business
The implementation of the Single Custom Territory (SCT) is seen as a crucial move that will reduce costs of doing business and increase efficiency in East African Community customs’ services, but for the Tanzania clearing and forwarding agents it is a blessing in disguise.The SCT is one of the key regional integration priority policy interventions adopted by the EAC member states to consolidate Customs Union. According to Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), full implementation of SCT, aimed at eradicating trade barriers in East Africa, begins on July 1.The Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (TAFFA) president Mr Stephen Ngatunga said during a workshop on SCT awareness to key stakeholders that the SCT will be a blessing to the business community across the region but it may create heavy losses to clearing and forwarding agents. Read more
Tanzania registers EAC trade surplus
Tanzania recorded a positive balance of trade with other East African Community (EAC) member states last year as traders continue to take advantages of opportunities availed under the EAC customs union. The Minister for East African Cooperation, Mr Samuel Sitta, said in Parliament last week that Tanzania’s trade with other EAC partner states maintained a steady growth and by last year the country’s exports in the regional market exceeded its imports.According to provisional data for the year 2013, the value of Tanzania’s exports was US$ 1120.1 million which is an increase of 82 per cent from US$ 613.30 million in 2012 and US$ 409 million in 2011, the minister said.Provisional data for the year 2013 show Tanzania imports from other partner states were US$ 410.2 million which is a decrease of 39.5 per cent from US$ 678.60 million for 2012 and US$ 378.10 million in 2011. Read more
East Africa’s business summit set for Kigali in June
Emerging growth opportunities are expected to take centre stage at the East Africa’s Business Summit (EABS) to be held in Kigali, Rwanda early June this year.“The conference would provide a perfect platform to pull together business ideas and turn East Africa into an economic power house,” said the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Tanzania, Country Senior Partner, Mr Leonard Mususa, in a news conference in Dar es Salaam. The two day summit scheduled for June 4th to 6th is expected to bring together over 100 chief executive officers, financiers and government officials to discuss ways of exploiting emerging opportunities in various industries and geographies.The summit themed, Positioning East Africa for Inclusive Prosperity in 2020 and beyond, will be opened by Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame. “As industry leaders, we believe East Africa’s economic transformation can only be meaningful and sustainable if it’s inclusive. Read more
EAC: Crunch time for East Africa, EU trade talks
East African Community (EAC) and European Union (EU) return to the negotiating table mid May in an effort to thrash out some of the contentious issues holding back better trade agreements between the two blocs. Foreign Affairs and International Trade Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho said the meeting seeks to deliberate on the remaining three contentious issues delaying final deal on new Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).He said the issues which have delayed signing of an economic partnership deal between the two have been whittled down from nine.“On agriculture, the EAC is saying that agricultural products where subsidies are provided should not find cheap market access,” he said.If allowed into the region duty free to access the markets, Kibicho said they could negatively impact farmers. The other contentious issue is the EAC’s use of taxes to discourage export of raw materials. “This is a deliberate effort to encourage value addition of our commodities before they are exported,” he said. Read more
EAC, SACU share ideas, benchmark best practices
The East African Community and the South African Customs Union (SACU) have agreed to share ideas and learn best practices in various areas of regional trade and competition.Senior officials from SACU together with their counterpart EAC gathered in Arusha at two- day meeting aimed at benchmarking, outline best practices and share ideas in area like competition policy, trade in services, agriculture policy, revenue mobilization and industrial policy.The March 27-28 meeting arose from a benchmark visit of the South African Custom Union team to the EAC Secretariat aimed at sharing ideas, where senior officers of EAC made presentations on the trading bloc.The East African Business Council (EABC) also made a presentation on strategic plans in institutional strengthening, policy and advocacy, value adding services and membership development, increased visibility and partnerships creation along with maintenance.Speaking during the opening of the meeting the EAC Deputy Secretary General (Finance and Administration), Jean Claude Nsengiyumva expressed appreciation for the trust that SACU has on EAC and happy that they chose to benchmark with the EAC. Read more
EA Film Stakeholders Form New Network
he First Preparatory Forum of East African Film Festivals and Film Producers has formed a new body-East African Film Network (EAFN) -and has elected an interim leadership to spearhead promotion and development of the East African film industry in the region. Inaugural meeting in Arusha agreed that full leadership to be in place in a year's time.The three-day meeting, which was held 12-14 March in Arusha, the Headquarters of the EAC, resolved that full elections will be convened in a year's time. Earlier, the forum had requested the EAC Secretariat to support the operationalization of the new body, which is partly fulfilment of the Treaty's Article 119 (c). Read more
EA Common Market Rules On Dar 'Radar'
TANZANIA will before the end of the year review rules and regulations that are inconsistent with the East African Common Market to fully liberalise crossborder movement of capital, services and goods.The decision comes at the time where almost all the member states are yet to fully liberalise their cross-border movement with Tanzania still lagging behind in removing all the barriers for the implementation of the common market.However, irrespective of the blames by some partner states on Tanzania's "sluggishness" in reviewing the conflicting laws, the government is convinced of the progressive and positive measures it was taking to comply with the obligations while safeguarding national interests."Despite lagging behind in some areas of compliance, we are on the right track in eliminating the impediments for an efficient common market and this year the inconsistent laws will be sent for review in the National Assembly," noted Dr Abdullah Makame, an Assistant Director in the Ministry of East African Community.He was addressing participants to the workshop at which findings on the study on the East African Common Market Scorecard, commissioned by the World Bank Group and the EAC Secretariat, were tabled in Dar es Salaam. Read more
EAC Gets Hefty Support From EU
The East African Community Secretariat and the European Union delegation in Tanzania have signed a 4.45 million Euro (about 10bn/-) Financing Agreement to shore up the Regional Integration Support Programme (RISP).The programme aims at increasing capacities of the partner states to implement the EAC Treaty provisions and protocol in the areas of custom union, common market and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the EAC Organs.According to Mr Richard Owora Othieno, the Media and Communications Manager at the EAC Secretariat in Arusha, the objective of the RISP arrangement is to support the EAC region, the secretariat and its five partner states in their efforts to implement the integration agenda and increase competitiveness.The third generation RISP aims at enhancing the regional integration processes in the entire Eastern and Southern Africa, as well as the Indian Ocean. Read more
Kenya and Tanzania cut deal on tourism dispute
Kenya and Tanzania have reverted to their 1985 bilateral agreement as an interim measure to resolve their differences over free movement of tourists across the border.The two countries and Uganda have been accusing each other of policies that aim to protect their tour operators from regional competition. In a trilateral crisis meeting in Arusha last week Nairobi, Kampala and Dar failed to reach a long-term solution.Under the agreement, tour vehicles from Uganda and Kenya will not be allowed into each other’s tourism sites; instead, tour operators will swap tourists at the countries’ respective nearest border point, Namanga, Sirare and Isebania, Holili /Taveta, Horohoro and Lungalunga.This is the latest in a string of initiatives to boost the EAC tourism industry and market it as a single destination. Read more
Banking borders in EAC to disappear
Following the single tourist visa, a major deal between banking switch services in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania is in the offing to unlock more value in the East African banking, finance and trade sectors. Banking switch services allow a customer of one bank to access their account at ATM’s of another bank without opening an additional account.Uganda currently has 5.3 million commercial bank accounts spread out in 27 licensed commercial banks. There are 13 banks on the Ugandan switch run by Interswitch East Africa.“We are soon signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Kenya’s Kenswitch, Rwanda’s Rswitch, and Tanzania’s Umoja. Our goal is to expand to the entire African continent,” Olumuyiwa Asagba, the Interswitch boss said at the Serena Kampala Hotel last week.“We want to be a catalyst for the East African intergration and the move towards having a cashless economy,” he added.The addition of Centenary Bank to the Ugandan switch last week, has doubled the number of interconnected ATMs in the country to 280 from 146. Read more
EAC issues quality assurance rules to facilitate regional trade
The East African Community (EAC) Secretariat has issued new regulations to enhance the operationalisation of the EAC Standardisation, Quality Assurance, Metrology and Testing Act (SQMT) of 2006. The regulations geared towards facilitating regional trade were approved by the Council of Ministers in November last year and are issued in line with Article 6 of the Protocol on Establishment of the EAC Common Market, with reference to free movement of goods.Article 6 of the Protocol stipulates among other laws that EAC SQMT Act, 2006, shall govern the free movement of goods and regulations made there under.The regulations include: The EAC SQMT (Product Certification in Partner States) Regulations, 2013; The EAC SQMT (Designation of Testing Laboratories) Regulations, 2013; and The EAC SQMT (Enforcement of Technical Regulations in Partner States) Regulations, 2013. The EAC SQMT (Product Certification in Partner States) Regulations, 2013 provides for certification bodies in the Partner States on the basis of Product Standards. Read more
East Africa secures $600m to fund big power projects
East African countries are gearing up for new investments in the power sector as investors and big financiers close new deals for energy projects, potentially easing the region’s power woes.Over the past five days, at least seven major projects across the region have secured funding, boosting the bloc’s search for sufficient, stable and cheap power. This has seen a total of at least $605 million signed off in less than a week for projects in Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.Read more. 

East Africa set for historic shift as states adopt EU-type monetary union plan
With the signing of the East African Community Monetary Union Protocol, the five member countries start on a journey that will eventually see them operate a single currency, potentially transforming them into a strong single market with greatly enhanced clout in African and global trade but also exposing them to risk of stumbling from crisis to crippling crisis in the manner of the Eurozone.Under the Protocol, whose signing ends nearly four years of haggling, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Kenya will harmonise their economic and monetary policies for long-term growth.Read more. 

East African insurers association launched 
The EAC member-states will be signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU), establishing the East Africa Insurers Association (EAIA). The association will ensure the full participation in the integration process, enabling insurers to influence issues that impact on the insurance industry within the region.The MOU will be signed by representatives of national insurers associations from Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi.Read more

EAC cooperation vital for success of oil sector
A recent report by African Alliance, a research and securities firm, said the outlook for the region’s oil and gas sector is bright, but the ability to deliver on large scale projects will be key to realising this potential. Read more