Journey to harmonise EAC commercial laws begins in June

While Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda have legal systems primarily based on English Common Law, Rwanda and Burundi follow the European Civil law system The Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF), is now looking for a firm with strong commercial and business law experience to harmonise the commercial laws of the East African Community (EAC). Proposals for the harmonisation of the relevant commercial laws are expected to be submitted by June this year. 
President Paul Kagame after being briefed by EAC Secretary General Amb. Juma Mpachu (File photo)
President Paul Kagame after being briefed by EAC Secretary General Amb. Juma Mpachu (File photo)

While Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda have legal systems primarily based on English Common Law, Rwanda and Burundi follow the European Civil law system

The Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF), is now looking for a firm with strong commercial and business law experience to harmonise the commercial laws of the East African Community (EAC). Proposals for the harmonisation of the relevant commercial laws are expected to be submitted by June this year. 

“This assignment involves a close examination and review of existing commercial laws of the five Partner States that have direct bearing and impact on the EAC Common Market and Monetary Union requirements as well as on a common investment regime and making of concrete proposals for the harmonization of the relevant commercial laws to assist in the deepening of the EAC’s integration,” a statement posted on ICF website said.

The required firm to undertake the above assignment must also have strong commercial and business experience in English Common Law and European Civil Law.

This is because while Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda have legal systems primarily based on English Common Law, Rwanda and Burundi follow the European Civil law system.

Commercial laws to be harmonised include banking laws, the business transactions laws, finance and fiscal legislation, insurance and investment.

“But there is need to assess and address the divergence, gaps and differences in the commercial statutes and laws that have evolved in these countries over the last three decades.

In addition, commercial laws need to be examined to assess the extent to which they facilitate or impede the promotion of the common investment area and effective functioning of a common market. 

EAC has to harmonise their commercial laws to facilitate economic regional integration.

In a bid to facilitate economic integration that will be achieved when the region establishes a Common Market, the original partner states are already implementing the Customs Union while Burundi and Rwanda, the new entrants of the community are expected to implement the same beginning July.

Rwanda has already confirmed that it will be implementing the Customs Union where it is expected to lose Rwf12. 4 billion.

It is envisaged that the adoption of the EAC Common Market draft protocol that currently awaits signing in November this year, will also set the pace for establishment of the EAC Monetary Union by 2012. The ICF is the  funding agency of the project.

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