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EAC leaders call for speedy implementation of the monetary union

22 February 2015, 07:37

Nairobi - The East African Community (EAC) leaders on Friday called for the speedy implementation of the East African Monetary Union (EAMU).

Incoming Chair of the EAC Summit Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said all the partner states have ratified the protocol on the establishment of the EAMU.

"In order to achieve a single currency in the next 10 years, all the five member states should abide by the approved roadmap," Kikwete said in Nairobi at the end of the 16th Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State.

EAC member states include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. This summit took place during the first anniversary of the signing of the protocol establishing the EAMU.

The EAC summit also approved and signed the protocol to operationalize the extended jurisdiction of the East African Court of Justice covering trade and investment.

Kikwete said the bloc will have to ensure that there is convergence of their macro-economic policies before a monetary union is fully operational.

"It will also promote cross border trade by reducing cost of inter-EAC trade," Kikwete said, adding the EAC is the most advanced regional bloc in the continent.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said the impressive growth and promise of the intra-community trade has been accompanied and underpinned by greater regional connectivity through enabling infrastructure development.

"Over the past two years, projects and programs designed to promote intensive integration have been completed," said Kenyatta, who is also the outgoing EAC summit chair.

He said that the partner states have made significant investments in the modernization and expansion of the railway network throughout the regional bloc. "Such projects are capital- intensive but the region is committed to mobilize funds from national budgets and donors."

Kenyatta also said the high cost of roaming calls across the region is an unnecessary impediment to trade and communication. He said that in the spirit of East African integration, innovative interventions leading to substantial reduction of calling charges are overdue.

"The implementation of a One-Area Network by Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya is an excellent beginning," he said. "Already, calls within this network have reduced to about 12 U.S. cents per minute, while there are no charges for incoming calls," he said.

According to the Kenyan leader, this tremendous benefit will be shared within the entire EAC when the region adopts harmonized calling rates in July this year.

EAC Secretary General Richard Sezibera said the trading bloc is in a good position to benefit from the Tripartite Free Trade resulting from the merger of the Southern African Development Community, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, and the EAC.

The merger will result in the establishment of an integrated market of 26 countries, with a combined population of almost 600 million people and a total Gross Domestic Product of about 1 trillion U.S. dollars.

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- Xinhua


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