Five East African countries agreed to launch a single East African currency by 2018

Nairobi, February 24, 2015 (GMN) - East African leaders agree to fast-track a single currency plan for the East African Community. East African leaders have agreed to rapidly push forward the planned creation of a Monetary Union to boost trade by signing a new treaty to expand the mandate of a regional court to resolve trade and investment disputes.

They set July as the deadline for ensuring all previous treaties are fully implemented to pave the way for smooth regional trading. At the Heads of State Summit of the East African Community in Nairobi on Friday (February 20), the leaders agreed a Monetary Union would be the last step towards the formation of a political federation.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, the new chairman of the EAC which groups together Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania said the roadmap to the Monetary Union should remain on track, adding that “we should attain more economic convergence before moving to the next stage."

The next stage is a political federation of East Africa and the summit resolved to initiate the process of forming the federation by calling for a ministerial meeting in April to review the work of a panel of law experts on the issue.

The five countries agreed a 2018 deadline for launching a single East African currency. Emphasizing the importance of improving business relations, the leaders also agreed to remove roaming charges for all travelers around the region.

The five states will also harmonize call charges by July to ease business communication across the region. The Summit noted a revised roadmap for South Sudan’s admission to the EAC and directed the ministerial council to ensure the negotiations were carried in accordance with this. The verification exercise for the admission of Somalia has yet to be carried out and the Summit directed the council to undertake this and report back to the next Summit.