Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Pan Africanism and Development: The East African Community Model

Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Pan Africanism and Development: The East African Community Model

Article excerpt


The EAC, i.e. the East African Community, created in June 2001, is the regional intergovernmental organization of the Republics of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. These five countries (comprising the core of the East Africa region) are working toward the goal of consolidating, by 2013, into a geopolitical confederation, namely, the East African Federation (EAF). Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda were the original constituency members of the EAC with Rwanda and Burundi being accepted as members in November 2006 (Guardian, 2006). An official ceremony and treaty signing for the inclusion of Rwanda and Burundi was held on June 18, 2007 (Cocks, 2007). This consortium, starting with the integration of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, is actually a revival of the old East African Cooperation which collapsed in 1977, after a 10-year existence. As of June 2007, the pan-nation trade bloc is led at the presidential level by Mwai Kibaki (Kenya), Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania), Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Paul Kigame (Rwanda), and Pierre Nkurunziza (Burundi).


East African Regional Integration: British Rule

To understand why the EAC concept had to be re-launched, the circumstances and issues affecting its demise and collapse must be revisited and accessed. In the 1890s, British colonial interest in East Africa (conceived as a region from a territorial perspective) can be traced back to accomplishing three major objectives: 1) securing control of the Nile headwaters as a conduit for protection of British position in Egypt and the Suez Canal, 2) monitoring of pre-World War I era German imperial plans in the region, and 3) opening up the Kenyan hinterland via rail transport to introduce lucrative large-scale farming. At this time, the East African region, colonized under British control, was comprised of Tanganyika (i.e. mainland Tanzania), Kenya, Uganda, and Zanzibar (an island off the coast of Tanganyika). In 1948, Britain set up the East African High Commission (EAHC), which oversaw a variety of common service initiatives for the region that is currently comprised of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda; e.g. regional university (namely, the University of East Africa), railways, harbors, airways, unions (postal and customs), and departments (telegraph and meteorology), etc.

The East African Common Services Organization (EACSO) was established in 1961 to replace the EAHC, which was deemed politically unacceptable, following that Tanganyika had attained independence from Britain in the same year. It was to manage many of the integration services of the region in the mode of the predecessor organization, EAHC.

With Zanzibar and Kenya in 1963 and Uganda in 1962 becoming independent from Britain, the presidential leadership of the newly independent countries (Julius Nyerere--Tanzania (formed from 1964 geo-political merger of Tanganyika and Zanzibar), Jomo Kenyatta--Kenya, and Milton Obote--Uganda) thought that political and economic prudence called for engaging in the continuance of the common services initiatives, but under African direction and customization (Kamanga, 2004).

The 1967 Treaty

In 1967, the Treaty for East African Cooperation (aka the 1967 Treaty, for short) was signed; thusly, the East African Cooperation was born. It, taking over nearly the entire range of joint services institutions belonging to the former EACSO, was comprised of six major administrative organs: 1) East African Authority, 2) Committee of East African Ministers, 3) Secretariat, 4) East African Legislative Assembly, 5) Ministerial Councils (five), and 6) East African Developmental Bank. Its service categories can be delineated into two groupings: East African Communities Corporation (EACC) and General Fund Services (GFS). The EACC provided services such as railways, telecommunications, and airways while the GFS oversaw budgetary management, auditing, training, and research issues and expenditures. …

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