Citizens of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda will soon be travelling using the new generation East African Passport, a modern regional travelling document likely to replace their national ones.
A communiqué from the Heads of State Summit, taking place in Uganda, which was made available in Kampala via the Arusha-based East African Community (EAC) Secretariat, quoted the five presidents agreeing to launch the new passport by November 2015.
The communiqué was signed by Presidents Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi at the weekend in Kampala.
The current East African passport apparently is only valid within the five countries and thus holders also had to depend on their respective national passports when travelling abroad.
However, the new regional travelling document, to be released in 2015, will be an international one which means is likely to replace national passports.
According to the official release, the Heads of State had during their ordinary summit also discussed the prevailing security situation in the region and the need for concerted efforts towards combating terrorism and negative forces in the region and reaffirmed its commitment to peace and security in the region.
The summit noted with concern the recent political and security developments in Somalia and urged all parties to embrace dialogue and create an environment conducive for the implementation of Somalia’s vision 2016 and facilitate the country’s elections slated for 2016.
During the summit, the five presidents signed a monetary-union deal, pouring the sands-of-time on a 10-year marathon for the establishment of a single currency to apply within the five East African states and possibly beyond.
The agreement came after nearly a decade of talks after which Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania Burundi and Rwanda will now try to establish institutions, including a regional central bank and a statistics body to support the single currency which will sail in 2023.
The deal marks an important touchstone in the region’s transition from a collection of conflict zones to one of the world’s most promising destinations for investment