East African Community Council of Ministers has designated 1st July, 2021 as the date for the coming into being of the East African Monetary Institute (EAMI), the precursor to the East African Central Bank.
The operationalization of the EAMI effectively sets the EAC on a journey towards the single currency by 2024 as envisaged in the East African Monetary Union Protocol.
The Council at its 40th meeting further directed the EAC Secretariat to convene a Meeting of the Sectoral Council of Finance and Economic Affairs to develop an institutional structure for the EAMI by 30th September, 2021.
The Ministers also directed the Secretariat to initiate the process of identifying the Institute’s host Partner State, in accordance with the EAC procedures.
The Council directed the Partner State that will host EAMI to cover office rent, office equipment, utilities and other support for the first two years.
The EAMI is a transitional mechanism to the East African Central Bank that will issue the single currency that is expected to be in place by the year 2024.
The 19th Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State held in Kampala, Uganda on 23rd February, 2018 directed the Council to expedite the establishment of the Monetary Institute according to the roadmap of the East African Monetary Union.
At their 20th Ordinary Summit, which was held in Arusha on 1st February, 2019, the EAC Heads of State assented to the Bill for the Establishment of the Institute.
On the proposed mainstreaming of the East African Development Bank (EADB) into the EAC structure, the Council urged the Bank’s Governing Council to consider the EAC development plans while setting the bank’s priorities.
The Ministers urged Partner States who are not members of the East African Development Bank (EADB) to formally seek admission as members in EADB by acquiring shares. At the moment, only the Republics of Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania are shareholders in the bank. Burundi and South Sudan are not members.
The Council maintained the current arrangement, whereby the East African Development Bank (EADB) Governing Council approves the appointment of external auditors, since this is the best practice.
The Ministers urged the EADB Governing Council to annually inform the Summit on the performance of the Bank.
On ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the Council urged the Republic of Burundi, the Republic of South Sudan and the United Republic of Tanzania to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) by 30th June, 2021.
As at 21st January 2021, 36 African countries, including Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, had ratified the AfCFTA Agreement.
The Council also directed the Partner States and the Secretariat to finalize the remaining tariff offers and the EAC Schedule of Commitments on Trade in Services by 30th June, 2021.
The Ministers discussed the Progress Report of the COMESA-EAC- SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area. They urged both the Republic of South Sudan and the United Republic of Tanzania to sign and ratify the TFTA Agreement by 30th June, 2021.
The 40th Council also adopted the 6th EAC Development Strategy (2021/22 – 2025/26). The overall goal of the 6th EAC Development Strategy is to “To Transform the East African Community into a Stable, Competitive and Sustainable Lower-middle Income Region by 2030.”