KIGALI - The ongoing two-week preliminary consultations on the EAC Monetary Union (MU) got underway in Kigali yesterday.
The meeting follows similar ones already held in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and will be followed by another in Bunjumbura before coming to a close in Arusha.
The discussions involved representatives from a wide array of sectors including civil society, EAC Affairs, media, trade, Capital Market Authority, academia, bankers, parliamentarians, and the pri vate sector.
The talks, organised by the bloc secretariat in collaboration with European Central Bank, (ECB) are aimed at discussing the preliminary findings of an ongoing joint study on the proposed EAC monetary union.
During the meeting, they also intend to finalise the assessment of the preparedness of the EAC Partner States in adopting the Monetary Union which is aimed at having a single currency in all member states.
Speaking during the meeting, the Permanent Secretary in EAC Ministry, Robert Ssali, said that the preliminary talks would give a platform to local stakeholders to table their ideas before the implementation of the proposed union.
“Monetary Union integration is not by accident; rather it is a mandate as engraved in our Vision 2020 goals, specifically on the 6th pillar that calls for the country to be integrated not just into the EAC but other blocs as well,” Ssali said.
Once formed, the MU will emulate the European Monetary Union which saw the birth of the Euro, a single currency that is used in European Union countries.
The EAC Monetary Union is being developed following an agreement between the EAC and ECB to take stock of current preparedness and render experience and expertise in designing the model.
“The integration we are talking about should be people-driven, hence consultation with the people is critical before implementation of MU,” Ssali said.
The formation of a Monetary Union set for 2012 is the third step that is geared to pave way for the eventual political federation.
The first two steps are the Customs Union which is already in place while the second is Common Market which is scheduled to be operational by January 2010.
“We are here to solicit views on the proposed MU; from this we will establish a strategy of attaining the East African Monetary Union,” said Alloys Mutabingwa, the Deputy Secretary General of EAC in charge of Planning and Infrastructure.