Understanding the EAC and East Africa

Understanding the EAC and East Africa

When one hears of East Africa, there are only a few countries that come to mind, i.e. Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi meanwhile the region comprises many other countries and some mix between East Africa and East African Community (EAC).

EAC was established with the aim is to widen and deepen economic, political, social, and cultural integration to improve the quality of life of the people of East Africa

The community was established in 1967 by a signed treaty between the presidents of Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda. The community dissolved after 10 years of operation in 1977 amidst the Cold War due to an ideological clash. The current one was re-established in 2000.

Rwanda and Burundi joined the EAC which initially comprised Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda.

For all 21 years, the community has been growing and now it no longer comprises five but six countries after South Sudan joined in August 2016.

177 million citizens reside in a 2.5 million square kilometres EAC land area. The community has a judicial arm called the East African Court of Justice

Among four Integrational Pillars, the EAC has managed to attain two pillars; the Customs Union and the Common Market. Currently, the community is working towards attaining a single currency for “daily transaction within the Common Markets,” elaborates the EAC website.

Adding that “the process towards attaining the fourth pillar, the East African Federation is being fast-tracked, underscoring the serious determination of the East African leaders and citizens to construct a powerful and sustainable East African economic and political bloc.”

EAC vs East Africa

All EAC countries are part of East Africa, but not all East African countries are part of the EAC. The East Africa region comprises EAC member countries and the Horn of Africa or the Somali Peninsula members.

Six out of 10 countries are part of East Africa and the remaining four; Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, and Ethiopia form the Horn of Africa.

Other states that could potentially join later in the future include Malawi, Congo, Zambia, and Somalia.