East African Community: Recommendations and Resolutions

Published on 27th April 2012

Recommendations and Resolutions of the 2nd Dialogue of Political Integration held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania 18-19 April, 2012

The second EAC Dialogue on Political Integration took place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on 18th -19th April 2012. Mr. Mussa Uledi, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of EAC Affairs, the United Republic of Tanzania on behalf of the Minister for EAC Affairs officially opened the Dialogue. 

It was addressed by Prof. Gilbert Khadiagala, University of Pretoria and Prof. Sam Tulya-Muhika, Makerere University and was moderated by Dr. Dan Ameyo.

Eminent persons from academia, civil society organizations, diplomats, private sector, media, senior officials from Ministries of EAC Affairs, and executives of government institutions from EAC Partner States, also attended dialogue, among others.

The panelists at the Dialogue were Hon. Sam Kutesa, Hon. Amos Wako, Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Prof Anastase Shyaka, Dr. Frank Okuthe, Col. Michael Luwongo, and Mr. Willy Musinguzi.


The Dialogue builds on the rational that successful economic integration requires a stronger political authority to enforce implementation of the milestones and regional policies.

This is on the understanding that since integration is essentially a political process, the economic vibrancy is also dependent on effective monetary and fiscal policies implemented within a supranational political dispensation. To this end, empowering and establishing national and regional political governance structures capable of driving the regional agenda is mandatory.


The main objective of the Dialogue was to engage key stakeholders to brainstorm on the principle that there is a relationship between political integration and economic integration. The Dialogue was based on two topics, namely: -

i) Demystifying Political Integration: The case of the East African Community; and 

ii) Political Integration - a driving force for successful economic integration.

Demystification of Political Integration–The Case of East Africa

Prof. Gilbert Khadiagala in his keynote address argued that EAC has not moved from cooperation to integration. The key question being whether EAC is stuck at inter-governmental level or is moving towards supra-national?

With regard to the centrality of institutions, he noted that the problem the region is facing is the inability of existing institutions to translate the power of functionalism into meaningful use. The Prof. observed that the EAC integration is faced with some challenges such as inadequate dialogues focusing on contributing factors to the failures and obstacles in integration process; lingering mistrust about economic gains; stemming culture of violence and instability. Prof Khadiagala encouraged participants and the EAC in general to thoroughly evaluate the pros and cons of admitting new members to the community, as this is sometimes associated with ‘’baggages.’’

He concluded by pointing out that economic integration is the foundation for political integration and that political integration is key in consolidating the benefits of integration, and as such, the two compliments each other.

Integration - The driving Force for Efficient Economic Integration.

Prof. Tulya-Muhika argued that good economics is the best politics. In this regard, political integration is key for successful economic integration. He emphasized on the role of politicians in rationalizing some problems the region is facing such as the Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs). He highlighted some of the challenges facing including delayed implementation of decisions and existence of weak institutions and organs. The presentations generated a lively debate at plenary. It was restated that the Community is facing serious problems of non-implementation of major decisions of the Council.  The people centered and market driven integration is at stake as little has been done to ensure that East Africans understand integration and its benefits. Most importantly, the existence of weak institutions constrain moving forward the integration agenda. 

He concluded by stating that the moral of the whole issue is that there can be no successful economic integration through the coming together mode without successful political integration. He cited and described the problems facing the Euro Zone and linked them to the EAC situation stating that without a political authority to regulate, implementation of the monetary union will be intricate.


The dialogue made a number of observations and recommendations, and agreed on the following resolutions: -

a) That economic and political integration have a symbiotic and complementary relationship and that there can be no successful and meaningful economic integration without a successful political integration. As such, there is need for political decisions that are informed by rational economic thinking;

b) That the relationship between political and economic integration is not only a regional but a global topical issue; and that the lack of clarity and commonality of understanding of the two concepts provides skeptics a convenient excuse to treat holistic integration as a choice whereas it is a necessity;

c) The EAC needed to take all the required actions to transit from her current intergovernmental state of cooperation to a supra national stage, viz integration mode. This will facilitate effective implementation of both Customs Union and especially the Common Market, partly by operationalization of article 8(4-5) of the Treaty;

d) That in order to have a successful and sustainable political integration underpinned by an economic vibrancy, there is need for policy convergence, harmonization and effective coordination. This must also be driven by unwavering political will that is aimed at building consensus, coherence, and a regional identity and nurture strategic unity of purpose. This should be underpinned by the shared interests in pursuing the integration goals;

e) That political integration is not a product at the end of the integration pipeline expected, in the case of the EAC, to come after the Customs Union, the Common Market and the Monetary Union.  Rather, that these other stages of integration have potential to flourish when founded on coherent political policy orientation that espouses supra-nationalism;
f) That although economic integration is generally understood, the tendency has been to define political integration through the narrow lenses of nation-state political sovereignty. As such, the resistance to political integration is largely a result of perceived resultant loss of sovereignty. There is therefore need to unequivocally articulate that: -

i. the deeper the level of integration, the greater its benefits; and

ii. the sovereignty most people profess to cherish would be even more effective and capable of guaranteeing their economic, social, cultural and political security if collectively pooled;

g) That building a people-centered and market-driven integration capable of sustaining the momentum of integration can only come about through deliberate efforts by the political actors. This should be coupled with providing space to non-state actors to contribute to policy formulation, i.e. the civil society and the private sector. Equally important is the need for deliberate political decisions which provide space for effective participation of women and the youth in the integration processes given their role in the economic and political spheres;

h) That the state of social and cultural integration in particular appears to be a step ahead of the provisions of the Treaty. There is need to upscale regional social and cultural initiatives and activities that blend citizens of the region into an East African identity. This will bring a sense of common identity and bond the youth aligning them with the multi-dimensional integration so far attained and enhance the social and cultural cohesiveness of the region;

i) That the prospect of natural resources in the region in terms of tourism, mineral and fossil resources call for thinking big, long-term and strategic on how to negotiate optimal benefit from their exploitation. The negotiation capacity to manage undue pressure and the divide and rule syndrome calls for political regional cohesion;

j) That furthermore, amid the fears of economic marginalization in the increasingly globalizing world, building a cohesive, economically and politically integrated EAC is not only a manifestation of enlightened self-interest but an imperative for strategic survival founded in shared foreign policy orientations;

k) That the evolving challenges to peace and security and the high cost of equipping and strengthening the EAC Partner States’ defence capabilities at the individual nation state levels is unsustainable. This provides compelling grounds for collective and cost effective defence infrastructure and management, driven by a mutually perceived sense of common threats. The saved resources would be channeled to other sectors for supporting social-economic and cultural programmes;

l) There is need to broaden participation to cover more stakeholders, sectors and groups to the series of the EAC Dialogue on Political Integration. It is a platform that provokes frank, candid and open discussions that should inform and help policy makers to reflect on the integration process;

m) That political integration may not be the panacea to peace and security but would facilitate establishment of regional instruments and that promote peaceful management of conflicts and promote stability.

n) That integration means transfer of some powers and responsibilities to the regional mechanisms. Therefore there is need to build and strengthen supra-national institutions with the structural, financial capability and legal competence to suit the widened mandate. Commensurate capacities for monitoring follow up and enforcing compliance with these instruments is crucial. The Secretariat should be restructured to provide executive supervision over the management of integration programs. The same applies to the East African Court of Justice, the East Africa Legislative Assembly and other Institutions of the Community to accomplish their mandates under the Treaty;

o) That there should be a way of addressing the challenges of operationalizing Article 8 (4 & 5) of the Treaty, which gives precedence to regional laws, policies and institutions over national laws, lest the Partner States renege on their commitments or selectively implement them;

p) That there is need to sensitize the people on the challenges, opportunities and added value of integration, but more so on the cost of not integrating, so as to re-orient the thinking of the skeptics to nurture integrationist mindsets;

q) That adherence to the fundamental principles as stipulated in the EAC Treaty must be promoted despite sensitivities surrounding the development and operationalisation of the supportive legal instruments. In this regard, the implementation of regional legal instruments that have been concluded should be prioritized; 

r) That the continuing expansion of the Community membership may bring about economic gains but has potential to slow-down the efforts at political integration;

s) That there is need to establish an East African Federal Advisory Council with the mandate to advise the Summit on the issues related to the implementation of processes leading to the political federation;

t) Welcomed the initiative by the Secretariat to promote integration discourse and hailed the diversity of stakeholders that participated at the 1st and the 2nd EAC Dialogue on Political integration as a move in the right direction. They called for wider levels of participation at subsequent Dialogues; and

u) Commended the UNDP for its continued support to the holding of EAC Political Dialogues.

The Meeting thanked Hon Beatrice Kiraso for her commitment to the political integration agenda and wished her well in her future endeavors.
This 19th day of April 2012, at Kunduchi Beach Hotel and Resort, Dar es Salaam, The United Republic of Tanzania.

East African Community Secretariat
Arusha – Tanzania
April 2012

For more information please contact: Owora Richard Othieno, Head of Department; Corporate Communications and Public Affairs; Tel: 255-768-835021; Email: [email protected]

Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department, EAC Secretariat, Arusha, Tanzania.

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