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EAC Partner States directed to formulate National Kiswahili Language Policies

East African Community Secretariat; Arusha, Tanzania; 07 April 2017:
The 35th Meeting of the East African Community Council of Ministers took place from 30th March to 4th April 2017 at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

Among other highlights was the key resolution of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) on promoting the use of Kiswahili and adopting it as one of the official languages of the Community.

The Council considered amendment of Article 137 of the EAC Treaty to include Kiswahili as one of the Official Languages of the Community and directed Partner States to formulate National Kiswahili Language Policies and enhance the use of Kiswahili in official domains as well as initiate the process of institutionalization of Kiswahili as one of the EAC Official Languages through the establishment of National Kiswahili Councils and National Kiswahili Associations.

In August 2016, EALA passed a Resolution to urge the Summit of EAC to amend the Treaty for the establishment of the East African Community to provide for Kiswahili as one of the official Languages of the Community.In January 2017, the resolution sailed through at the 4th Meeting-5th Session of the 3rd Assembly held in Kampala, Uganda during which, the lawmakers underscored the need to elevate Kiswahili as one of the official languages of EAC from its current status of lingua franca.

Article 119 of the EAC Treaty, provides for the development and promotion of indigenous languages especially Kiswahili as a lingua franca of the region. Kiswahili is not only recognized as a unifying language spoken by East Africans but it is rich in dialect and expression.

This therefore means that Kiswahili will soon be adopted as an official language within the Community as soon as the EAC Summit of Heads of State amend the treaty to accommodate the new resolution. After amendment, Partner States are expected to facilitate adoption of the language at the national level.

Adopting Kiswahili as the second official language within the region will therefore mean a step towards uniting the people of the region. It will also deepen and widen integration within the region. Embracing the language at the regional level will increase the participation of the people of East Africa in the affairs of the community.

- ENDS -

For more information, please contact:

Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
EAC Secretariat
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: +255 784 835021
Email: OOthieno [at] eachq.org

About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

East African Community
EAC Close
Afrika Mashariki Road
P.O. Box 1096
United Republic of Tanzania

Tel: +255 (0)27 216 2100
Fax: +255 (0)27 216 2190
Email: eac@eachq.org