EAC - Harmonisation of Sectoral Policies

The EAC does not explicitly refer to harmonization of sectoral policies in its treaties or protocols. Implicitly however, the protocols for the Customs Union and the Common Market both include elements where harmonization of sectoral policies fall under the “Four Freedoms” of movement, comprising the free movement of goods, labour, services, and capital. The Protocol on the Establishment of the EAC Common Market declares further harmonization and cooperation of sectoral policies in agriculture, education, science and technology, infrastructure, investment promotion and private sector development, social policies, environmental and natural resources management, and trade.[1]

With regard to infrastructure, the EAC has identified five main corridors in the Community (a total length of about 15,000 km), which constitute a strategic priority and requires rehabilitation to complete the road network in the Community. Under the High-level Standing Committee on the East African Road Network, EAC has facilitated the sector reforms, which include the formation of road boards and agencies, participation of the private sector, harmonization of regional policies and axle loads control in the road subsector. Moreover, all the member States have road fund boards and road agencies. Likewise, the EAC member States are committed to developing standard gauge rail networks to replace their narrow gauge networks. Parts of the line network have already been covered by COMESA, given the multiple memberships of some states in which the lines are passing.

Member States are also committed to harmonize civil aviation regulations in the areas of flight safety standards (personnel licensing, airworthiness and flight operations), aerodromes certification, and aviation security and air navigation services. EAC Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency is responsible for the development and provision of standardized air. As a result of common efforts in dealing with safety issues, the region was rated above the global average in terms of implementation of the critical safety elements during the International Civil Aviation Organization audits under the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme conducted in November 2008.

In regards to energy, the East African Power Master Plan was completed in May 2011 and approved in June 2011. The Power Master Plan outlines the least cost generation and the transmission programme in order to satisfy the electricity demand for 2013–2038 in the region. Following approval of the Power Master Plan, the EAC Secretariat was tasked to mobilize resources for priority projects that are critical for ensuring regional interconnectivity and enhancing power generation in the region.[2]

Given that agriculture is one of the East African region’s most important sectors, the EAC established a Food Security Action Plan, which was developed and then approved for implementation by the EAC Heads of State at its ninth extraordinary Summit held in Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania, on 19 April 2011. The EAC Food Security Action Plan is an ambitious plan that aims at improving food security in member States. Under the Action Plan, EAC intends to deal with issues ranging from policy, institutional and legislative issues, production and marketing, to nutritional and related matters. The Action Plan is also in line with African Unions Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme principles.[3]     

Health care is another sector where EAC have an objective to harmonize policies in order to undertake joint action towards the prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases. The Regional East African Community Health-Policy Initiative is an institutional mechanism designed to link health researchers with policymakers and other vital research users. The East African Public Health Laboratory Networking Project and the East African Integrated Disease Surveillance Network are also mechanisms that aim to harmonize and increase member State cooperation in the health sector. Furthermore, the EAC has a regional response to HIV and AIDS that is guided by the EAC regional Multisectoral HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan for 2008–2013. The programme was managed by the EAC Secretariat and implemented through the National AIDS Control Councils, National AIDS and sexually transmitted infection Control programmes and the Ministries of Health in member States.[4]

[1] East African Community, Common Market. Available from http://www.eac.int/integration-pillars/common-market (accessed 6 May 2016).

[2] African Union, Status of Integration in Africa IV (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2013). Available from http://www.au.int/ar/sites/default/files/SIA%202013(latest)_En.pdf.

[3] African Union, Status of Integration in Africa IV (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2013). Available from http://www.au.int/ar/sites/default/files/SIA%202013(latest)_En.pdf.

[4] African Union, Status of Integration in Africa IV (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2013). Available from http://www.au.int/ar/sites/default/files/SIA%202013(latest)_En.pdf.