Tanzania gesture should be emulated by other countries

THE East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of seven partner states: The Republic of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Republic of Kenya, the Republic of Rwanda, the Republic of South Sudan, the Republic of Uganda, and the United Republic of Tanzania, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

The EAC is home to an estimated 283.7 million citizens, of which over 30 per cent is urban population. With a land area of 4.8 million square kilometres and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$ 305.3 billion, its realisation bears great strategic and geopolitical significance and prospects for the renewed and reinvigorated EAC.

Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda are the first members to form EAC and Tanzania has been home to the EAC Secretariat, the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) as well as the apex body for private sector business in the community – East African Business Council (EABC). The community was founded in 1967, collapsed in 1977 and was revived on 7 July 2000.

The seven countries have been collaborating on different sectors, working towards realisation of its key pillars that are customs union, common market, monetary union and political federation.

Since assuming power, President Samia Suluhu Hassan has done a lot to ensure the integration is real and has met other leaders of the bloc, holding several discussions to ensure the countries fortify the community and unity.

On Friday, President Samia handed over a title deed for 125 acres of land in Kisongo, Arusha region to the EAC Secretary General, Dr Peter Mathuki for the regional bloc future expansion.

The title deed was handed over to Dr Mathuki shortly after they held talks at the Arusha State Lodge.  The 125 acres in Kisongo area on the outskirts of Arusha City have been provided to the EAC for free by the Tanzanian government.

The projects to be initiated include staff housing scheme, international school, health centre, recreational facilities, exhibition ground and banking as well as a shopping mall. Handing over the land and the title deed for free is a noble gesture by the Tanzanian Government and should be emulated by other countries within and outside the community.

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 18 June 2007 and became full members of the Community with effect from 1 July 2007, while the Republic of South Sudan acceded to the Treaty on 15 April 2016 and became a full Member on 15 August 2016.

The Community’s newest member, the Democratic Republic of the Congo acceded to the EAC Treaty on 8 April 2022 and became a full member on 11 July 2022.

As one of the fastest growing regional economic blocs in the world, the EAC is widening and deepening co-operation among the Partner States in various key spheres for their mutual benefit. These spheres include political, economic and social.

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