By The Independent Team
The leaders of five East African countries on Saturday afternoon signed a monetary union protocol kicking off plans to have a common currency for the block within 10 years.
The move is expected to boost regional trade with in the EAC block which is expected to include the nations of Somalia and South Sudan in the near future.
Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Tanzania’s Jakaya Kikwete, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza signed the monetary union protocol at the Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala.
As part of the plans to achieve a common currency the countries aim to harmonize monetary and fiscal policies and establish a common central bank.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta while speaking at the meeting said, “the signing of the monetary union protocol is the logical culmination of our integration efforts. We now have a framework required to unlock the promise of integration. The Union will eliminate the costs attendant to juggling different currencies, thereby reducing transaction costs.”
“Businesses will find more freedom to trade and invest more widely, and foreign investors will find additional, irresistible reasons to pitch tent in our region,” Uhuru said.
Already in the pipeline for the East Afrcan block is a single customs territory expected to commence in January 2014, which will be followed by a single internationally passport, identity cards, work permits and a single tourist visa.