The 17th Ordinary East African Community (EAC) Heads of State Summit is underway in Arusha, Tanzania and reports reaching us is that the East African Leaders plan on placing a ban on used merchandise such as clothes, cars, shoes in order to promote the facilitation of local manufacturing and assembly.
This year’s summit follows the East African Business Leaders’ Summit that took place on Tuesday which was focused on the private sector and giving businessmen the access to state leaders in order for business in the region to be pushed forward.
Also, the EAC council of ministers will deliberate on the entrance of Somalia and South Sudan to the bloc. It seems that after a five-year long wait, South Sudan will finally be admitted as the sixth member state of the economic alliance which consists of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.
The bloc has a market of at least 15 people and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $134 billion. This is bound to shape up South Sudan’s economy which is one of the weakest and most underdeveloped in the world. Also Somalia which has experienced two civil wars could benefit from joining the bloc.
Tanzania is also said to hand over the chairmanship of the Bloc to Burundi. President Pierre Nkuruzina will not attend the summit due to the political crisis going on in Burundi. He will however be represented by the Second Vice President of Burundi, Gervais Rufyikiri.
Also on the agenda of the summit is the new international East African electronic (e- passport). The passport will allow the citizens of the member states to travel across the region. The passport will also support international travel. The new passport is a replacement of the old that only allowed for citizens of the member state to travel to only any of the five member states.