The East African Community (EAC) hails the United Republic of Tanzania for her extensive contribution towards deepening regional integration and in turn increasing intra-EAC trade and development opportunities, as the country marks 60 years since independence.
As one of the three founding Partner States of the Community, Tanzania plays an integral role in the region, serving as one of the three original Partner States of the EAC who signed the Treaty establishing the EAC on 30th November 1999, which entered into force on 7th July, 2000.
EAC Secretary General, Hon. (Dr.) Peter Mathuki, underscored Tanzania’s critical role in the region, as she serves as the host of the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
“We hail the Republic of Tanzania for steering growth and development in the country and also fostering peace and security. It is this stability that has created a conducive operating environment for the EAC and its Organs, with their home in the United Republic of Tanzania,” said Dr. Mathuki.
“The city of Arusha in Tanzania is the permanent seat of the East African Community Secretariat, the executive Organ of the Community, and the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), the legislative Organ of the Community,” added Dr. Mathuki, adding that Arusha was also the temporary seat of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ), the judicial Organ of the Community.
The country also hosts the East African Kiswahili Commission (EAKC), which is based in the island nation of Zanzibar.
Tanzania continues to benefit from regional integration of the EAC. In 2020, Tanzania’s total trade with EAC Partner States amounted to US$1,136.9 million, higher than US$1,003.6 million in 2019. Tanzania has been recording trade balance surpluses since 2016, reflecting Tanzania’s increase in exports to other Partner States.
Most of the country’s exports to the region were destined to Kenya, followed by Rwanda and Uganda. It’s main exports to other Partner States include cereals particularly rice and maize; cattle, edible vegetables (mostly onions); residues and waste, paper and paper products, coffee, tea and spices. On the import side, Tanzania significant imports were from Kenya and Uganda. Most of the imported goods were soap and soap products; pharmaceutical products, plastic items, sugar confectionery and electric equipment.
Further, in 2020, the total trade for the EAC region stood at US$51,915 million from US$55,278.2 million in 2019, a 6.08 percent drop. In the same period, total EAC exports rose by 3.15 percent to US$16,257 million from US$15,938 million in 2019.
President Samia Suluhu’s stance on improving bilateral relations has also seen increase in Intra EAC trade in the last 9 months she has been in office.
As a signatory to the Customs Union, the country has contributed to the promotion of efficiency in production within the Community. It has also enhanced domestic, cross border and foreign investment in the Community.
Further, the establishment of the EAC Single Customs Territory has aided in facilitating faster clearance and movement of cargo from the port of entry to the destination.
Dr. Mathuki also acknowledged the critical role played by Tanzania peace and security in East Africa., adding that the country’s role had been crucial in the area of Conflict Prevention ,Management and Resolution:
“Tanzania has been the home of Burundian and other refugees for a long time. Mwalimu Nyerere was at the heart of the conclusion of the Arusha Accord which brought stability to Burundi in 2000 and again through the Late President Mkapa’s facilitation promoted Inter-Burundi dialogue between 2015 and 2019, an initiative that resulted in peaceful elections in 2020 that saw restoration of democracy and peace. The peaceful conclusion of the 2020 election has led to the commencement of the peaceful return of Burundian refugees, a process that is still underway,” said the Secretary General.
Dr. Mathuki singled out maritime security as an area where Tanzania had made an immense contribution especially on the Indian Ocean.
“Tanzania has the longest coastline in the EAC Region. Tanzania has through working with other coastal states, supported the process of combating piracy and other maritime offences that has ultimately led to the restoration of security in the Indian Ocean. Through her security interventions and partnership with other like minded states, large quantities of narcotics have been seized and destroyed and traffickers arrested and subjected to the legal system,” said the SG.
“On efforts to combat terrorism. Tanzania has directly contributed to stability in eastern DRC where it is part of the AU Rapid Intervention Brigade that decimated M23 rebel group and again in Mozambique as part of the SADC intervention team involved in the ongoing process of uprooting Ansar al Sunna in the northern region of the southern African country,” said Dr. Mathuki.
On efforts to control the proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW), Dr. Mathuki said that Tanzania was a signatory to the Nairobi Protocol on SALW and has been central in ensuring that the initiatives aimed at combating proliferation of SALW are implemented as part of a broader effort to ensure that only governments retain arms through both demand and supply reduction efforts.
The Secretary General pointed Tanzania’s efforts in contributing to security on Lake Victoria in cooperation with the twin lacustrine states of Kenya and Uganda.
“Lake Victoria is a big shared economic asset for the region whose security is strategically important for the region. To ensure safety and security, Tanzania that has 56% of the lake, has in partnership with Kenya and Uganda continued to ensure safety and security in the lake for the interest of the people who depend on the lake for navigation and livelihood,” said Dr. Mathuki.
Under the Common Market Protocol, the United Republic of Tanzania was the first Partner State to successfully implement the two-year set timeline for phasing out the old generation machine -readable national passports. The country commenced the issuance of the EA e-Passport on 31st January, 2018 and completed the phase-out in record time on 1st January, 2020.
“The 38th Extra-Ordinary Council of Ministers noted that the earlier set two phase-out programme had not been sufficient for all Partner States to complete the phase-out programme and extended the programme duration for two years from with effect September 2019 which ended in September 2021. In this regard, the 41st Ordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers, held on 29th November, 2021 commended the United Republic of Tanzania for this achievement,” said Dr. Mathuki.