Rwanda and Burundi agreed on the negotiation procedures for joining the East African Community (EAC) common market.
The programme will see the two countries reap from the advantages of the East African common market while protecting national interests.
Kenneth Bagamuhunda, EAC director of customs union said all parties (member country representatives) agreed to the proposed negotiations procedures and timetable.
The programme was discussed and decided last week during the 3 day meeting to determine modalities and programmes for common market negotiations in Arusha, Tanzania.
Prudence Sebahizi, executive secretary of Rwanda’s regional integration committee said two items were tabled and agreed upon: negotiation terms of reference and the new negotiation programme.
He said the new negotiation programme has come about after the first one was released by the formation of the ministerial council—thus was not approved.
“The new programme has been now approved and expected to be followed throughout the limited time of negotiation till December, 2008,” Sebahizi said.
He revealed that each member state city will host the negotiations. Rwanda is slated to host in April followed by Nairobi, Bujumbura, Kampala and Dar-el-Salaam respectively.
Concerning the terms of reference, Sebahizi said that it was detailed with what each group is assigned to handle and the scope of negotiations.
He said they were also provided the mandate to each member state’s high level task force.
They will thereafter draft a protocol on the common market negotiation proceedings and present it to the EAC before December, 2008.