(eTN) – The construction of the new East African Community (EAC) headquarters in Arusha, near its present location at the International Conference Centre, is reportedly on course, with staff excited about the prospects of leaving the array of rented accommodation and moving into one purpose-built new complex.
The building is financed with a grant from Germany and will, when complete, also allow a further expansion of the East African Community beyond the present 5 member states. Southern Sudan, becoming independent on July 9 this year, has already indicated that they will apply for membership soon after becoming Africa’s youngest nation, and Ethiopia and Congo DR are also reportedly mulling over a decision, still weighing the pros and cons of joining Eastern Africa’s strongest trade block.
The EAC has promoted regional integration from the economy towards a political union, too, and while much work is still to be done, discussions have advanced to the establishment of a single currency and the free flow of goods, services, and people across the entire region without the trouble of having to cross national borders.
Expected to be ready by the last quarter of this year, the EAC will also then offer museum space where the history of the current, and the “original” East African Community will be on display. Few know that the integration of East Africa under the first EAC, which collapsed in early 1977 due to political differences between members states and the meltdown back then in Uganda, was substantially more developed than, for instance, the European cooperation, with a full integration of postal, telephone, rail, harbor, and air services. Hence the march towards a fully integrated East Africa has been warmly welcomed by supporters of a strong region, able to hold its own in terms of economic development, trading powers, and tourism attractions.
In closing, it is also understood that negotiations with a range of foreign countries and blocks are ongoing to have the “new” East African passport, which presently is being developed to incorporate all the latest technology, eventually recognized globally, and become, like the present EU passports, THE travel document for East Africans.