East African Community Law – Institutional, Substantive and Comparative EU Aspects
Edited by Emmanuel Ugirashebuja – John Eudes Ruhangisa – Tom Ottervanger – Armin Cuyvers
The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental and supranational organization currently comprising the Republics of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania, and the Republic of Uganda. Established in 2000, the EAC aims at widening and deepening cooperation among its Partner States in, among others, political, economic and social fields.
The organization has established a Customs Union (2005) and a Common Market (2010) and is in the process of establishing a Monetary Union. Its ultimate objective is to establish a complete political (con)federation. It emphasizes the strong participation of the private sector and civil society.
The accomplishment of these objectives requires an elaborate and functionally purposed institutional framework.
The EAC aims at far deeper integration than envisioned by its predecessor, whilst simultaneously avoiding the mistakes that led to the failure of previous attempts at East African integration. Important safeguards include a gradual approach to integration and guarantees to ensure an equitable division of the benefits of integration.
There is a general consensus that the European Union (EU) was an important source of inspiration and provided a normative model for the EAC. Indeed the EAC Treaty and the Protocols have adopted and adapted significant parts of the EU’s institutional and legal framework.
The normative appeal of the EU in this regard can also be readily understood. Despite all the past and present failures and challenges facing the EU, no objective observer can deny the benefits of European integration in terms of peace, stability and prosperity.
What started 60 years ago as a Community between six Member States in a Europe destroyed by two world wars has now developed into the most peaceful and prosperous block in the world.
Consequently, there are lessons to be learned from the European experience, including the crucial role of the law and of lawyers in the process of integration, be they judges, lawmakers, civil servants, academics or practitioners.
The law is one of the most powerful and indispensable instruments to achieve true integration, as effective integration requires some form of the supranational legal system. That is what we mean by “Integration through law”. Awareness of the possibilities the law offers, therefore, is extremely important for any form of regional integration.