African Crisis Responses Initiatives

African Growth and Opportunity

Assistance and Debt Relief

Children's Initiatives

Commission for East African Cooperation

Conflict Prevention and Resolution

Economic Overview


Entebbe Summit for Peace and Prosperity: Joint Declaration of Principles



Human Rights

Initiatives with Ghana

Organization of African Unity

Trade and Investment


The Commission for East African Cooperation (EAC), which comprises Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, was first formed in 1967 as the East African Community. It collapsed in 1977 due to ideological and political differences. The EAC Secretariat was relaunched in March 1996 in Arusha, Tanzania, to promote closer economic cooperation among its members. The new EAC seeks to avoid the political overtones and expensive bureaucracy which scuttled its predecessor. Progress has been achieved as tensions which existed between Presidents Moi and Museveni have abated. Also, the members' commitment to joint proposals and decision-making helps maintain the EAC's viability.

The Permanent Tripartite Commission for East African Cooperation met in Arusha in August 1996 and agreed on unified budget and annual ministerial-level meetings. The member states agreed to cooperate in such areas as trade, health, law, science, infrastructure and industry. The EAC's bid to create a single East African market of about 77 million people entails easing travel restrictions, harmonizing tariffs, increasing cooperation among security forces, improving communications, sharing electrical power and addressing Lake Victoria issues. Concrete measures toward integration include freely exchangeable currencies, a common East African passport, a common flag and a double taxation accord.

Although its priority is economic integration, the EAC believes it can play a role in enhancing regional stability and has encouraged the membership of Rwanda and Burundi. The EAC says it wants to cooperate with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and other regional groupings such as the Southern African Development Community.

In order to raise its profile in Africa and in donor capitals, the EAC sent a ministerial delegation in February 1998 to meet with senior government officials and people in the private sector in Brussels, Tokyo, Washington and London. The EAC used this opportunity to explain its development strategy, promote the East African Single Market as an investment area and seek support for regional infrastructural development, which will be the focus of donors conference to be held later this year in Arusha, Tanzania.

U.S. Government interest in the EAC arises from the Administration's belief that regional cooperation and integration will prove economically, socially and politically beneficial. Through the President's Partnership for Economic Growth and Opportunity Initiative, the United States aims to reward African countries that pursue economic and political reforms. The Initiative's emphasis on trade and investment liberalization, investment in human resources and improved policy management and governance could help the EAC achieve regional development.

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