RUBAVU- The sixth round of the negotiations for the EAC Common Market Protocol took place Tuesday, December 2 at the Serena Kivu Hotel in Gisenyi.
The 10-day meeting has brought together members of the High Level Task Force (HLTF) from all the EAC member States of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.
While officially launching the event, Charles Gasana, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry for East African Affairs, said this round was among the most crucial negotiations and final stages of the EAC common market arrangements which are expected to be implemented in 2010.
“This workshop is going to focus on Common Market negotiations and the main pillars of the negotiations are free movement of goods, persons, right to residence and establishment,” explained Gasana.
He said that a common market is the next crucial stage as East Africa moves towards the use of one currency and subsequently a political federation.
Gasana said that although the Task Force will not meet the December 2008 deadline to have completed the negotiations and signing the EAC common market protocol, he was optimistic that the next one of April 2009 would be met.
This deadline was set by the EAC Heads of State Summit, the highest decision organ in the bloc. He said the common market, would promote increased productivity, wealth creation, competitiveness, and enhance the entrepreneurial capacity of the Private Sector in the five-nation community.
Damascene Kahindu,one of the delegates, said that he was optimistic the 10-day meeting will come up with positive recommendations towards the formation of the EAC common market and the strengthening of the EAC political federation.