The East African Community (EAC) Heads of State Summit slated for next week in Kampala, Uganda, should array fears that the bloc was heading down the dangerous slope of disintegration.
The Summit will discuss the third major instrument of the EAC integration process, the Monetary Union, and the possible outcome of the meeting will be signing the protocol.
Talks on the subject have been going on for some time now and experts have consulted and fine tuned key elements of the documents; it is now up to the Heads of State to make the dream of uniting the East African region come true.
While it makes sense, when a country treads carefully before committing itself to far-reaching decisions, any road taken should be informed by long-term benefits for its people. With a population of over 130 million, there is no need to think twice about the EAC economic integration because a common market has obvious benefits.
The EAC should cease appearing to act as an elite club that holds endless meetings and drags its feet when decision-making times arrive. Experience in the implementation of the initial two pillars of the EAC integration process speaks volumes about the region’s integration journey.
The Customs Union Protocol was signed in 2005 and then Common Market Protocol in 2010, but their implementation is another matter. Will the Monetary Union – if it is signed – suffer the same fate? Only time will tell, but it is the hope of many that EAC leaders will ease all the existing bottlenecks for the interests of their citizens.