East African Community to have a single currency by 2027

The East African Community (EAC) Secretary General, Dr. Peter Mathuki, announced on Thursday, January 12, that the seven partner states of the EAC will have a common currency by 2027.

Speaking during a five-day retreat for all EAC staff at Maanzoni Lodge in Machakos County, Mathuki stated that the Council of Ministers is ready to make a decision on the location of the East African Monetary Institute by the end of 2023.

The East African Monetary Institute will become the precursor to the East African Central Bank and will issue the planned single currency.

“The monetary institute would allow the community to come up with a constitution that will then create a roadmap for having one currency,” Mathuki stated.

Having a single regional currency means that the power to issue national currency will be transferred from governments to a common institution, the East African Monetary Union.

According to Mathuki, the single currency will ease both business and the movement of persons within the region. “It is in line with our goal to make the region borderless so that people can freely move and trade as envisioned in the Common Market Protocol,” he explained.

Mathuki also noted that intra-EAC trade had increased, with the value of intra-EAC trade in 2022 standing at $10.17 billion, up from $7.1 billion in 2019.

He attributed the increase in intra-regional trade to political goodwill among the EAC Heads of State and the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions in the region, among other factors.

He also mentioned that high-level discussions among Heads of State had eliminated many non-tariff barriers impeding intra-regional trade and expressed hope that this and other factors would help raise the level of intra-regional trade in East Africa to at least 40 per cent over the next five years.

The plans to unite the East African Community have often been derailed by conflicts among member states.

However, the Secretary General’s announcement of a single currency by 2027 shows that the EAC is determined to move forward with its goal of creating a borderless region for free movement and trade.

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