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The Tripartite Task Force Infrastructure Sub-Committee (ISC) meets in Arusha

East African Community Secretariat; Arusha, Tanzania; 15 May 2017:

The Tripartite Task Force Infrastructure Sub-Committee meeting to consider progress of projects and programmes under the Infrastructure Pillar of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (FTA) concluded on 12th May, 2017 in Arusha, Tanzania.

The two-day meeting chaired by the Director of Infrastructure at the EAC Secretariat, Dr Kamugisha Kazaura was attended by the representative from Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the host EAC.

Delivering his opening remarks on behalf of the Secretary General, Dr Kazaura, appreciated the support from the EU for funding the Tripartite Transport and Transit Facilitation Project (TTTFP) from the EDF 11 funding cycle for the next five years. The support will go a long way in facilitating harmonization of the transport standards, regulatory frameworks and specifications in the Eastern and Southern African Region.

The representative of SADC, Mr. Lovemore Bingandadi, thanked the EAC for convening the meeting and reiterated SADC’s commitment to work with COMESA and EAC to accelerate the implementation of the Tripartite Infrastructure programmes.

On his part, Mr. Bernard Dzawanda from COMESA, pledged to work with the other RECs in the implementation of the Tripartite Infrastructure programmes. He lauded the EAC for enacting regional legislation that made it easier for Partner States to implement regional policies and standards and called for replication of the practice across all Tripartite RECs.

The meeting discussed the progress in the implementation of the Tripartite Infrastructure Projects and Programmes in the areas of Tripartite Transport and Facilitation Programme, Corridors Infrastructure Development, Civil Aviation, Maritime Transport, Ports, ICT and Energy.  The Tripartite RECs and Member States have developed Tripartite Transport and Transit Facilitation Programme (TTTFP) which has received funding amounting to 18 million Euros under the 11th EDF.

Implementation of the programme is expected to commence in July 2017. It was noted that the lack of an integrated and liberalized road transport market in the East and Southern African (EA-SA) region poses numerous obstacles to trade by causing severe delays and increased transport costs, as well as challenges to road safety and durability. This programme (which builds on previous REC programs) addresses these challenges through the implementation of harmonized road transport policies, laws, regulations, systems and standards that affect drivers, loads, vehicles and road infrastructure in the countries of the EA-SA region.

All REC’s forming the Tripartite have prioritized the development of corridors to facilitate transit transport and expand trade within and between the respective regions.

In the Civil Aviation Sub Sector, the meeting noted that the Tripartite is currently playing the key role in the full implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision and establishment of a single African Air Transport Market as adopted by the African Union Assembly in January 2015. The full liberalization in the Tripartite region will lead to the removal of all restrictions on access, price, frequency and capacity in intra-African Air Transport market, free exercise of the first five freedom rights and the reduction of Air Transport Cost. 

The report of the Tripartite Task force Infrastructure Sub-Committee meeting will be considered by the Tripartite Sectoral Committee of Ministers of Infrastructure (TSCMI) scheduled in July 2017.

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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.

Tools to Enhance Operations at One Stop Border Posts being Developed

East African Community Secretariat; Arusha, Tanzania; 23 March 2017:
The East African Community is developing a Regional Training Curriculum to support the operationalization of One Stop Border Posts (OSBPs) within the bloc. The training curriculum is a major capacity building tool for OSBPs in the region.

In a 20th - 24th March meeting, with the support of GIZ - African Union Border Program (AUBP), currently underway in Kigali, Rwanda, Partner States’ experts from the Revenue and Immigration Authorities are developing the tool, which aims at training the OSBP officers on the rules and ways to operate in their different positions at their different posts in cooperation and coordination with their different counterparts.

The Regional Training Curriculum looks at how best to allow the different agencies to play their role and work together so as to enhance and accelerate the smooth operationalization of the OSBPs. The curriculum will be based on the existing instruments adopted by the EAC including the OSBP Act, Sourcebook and Manual. It will also take into account the already existing instruments of sensitization and capacity building availed by the other Development Partners of the EAC such as the IOM, JICA and TMEA.

According to the Ag. Director General of the EAC Directorate of Customs and Trade, Mr. Kenneth Bagamuhunda, the development of the curriculum commenced in December 2016 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and the Kigali meeting is a continuation of the process, which comes at a time when the Community had successfully developed the OSBP Regulations and OSBP Manual.

“In order to have hands on experience on what happens in an OSBP, prior to the meeting, the delegates’ visited two functioning OSBPs, at Cyanika and Kagitumba/Mirama Hills. The output of the visits to the border posts greatly enhanced the curriculum development process”, noted the Ag. Director General, adding that the Partner States Experts who played a central role in the development of the OSBP Manual were also assisting in the development of the Training Curriculum.

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Notes to Editor: 

The operationalisation of OSBPs in the region is not without challenges. Some of the challenges relate to inadequate infrastructure at many of these border posts including housing for staff, amenities such as schools and hospitals, holding grounds for quarantined animals, insufficient water resources and in some cases unreliable power supply and not the least human capacity and skills shortfalls in a number of critical areas.

In order to realize the goal of African integration, there is need to ensure smooth management of borders allowing swift and hustle-free movement of goods, persons, workers and services. This initiative will need to be bolstered by strengthening security measures that halt cross border criminal activities. Moving towards these goals the African Union, through its Border Program (African Union Border Program (AUBP) has encouraged/urged its member states to embrace a smoother management of border crossing points through installation and implementation of One Stop Border Posts (OSBPs). 

There are 77 borders in Africa that have been earmarked for OSBP construction with 15 of them being in East Africa Community (EAC). The OSBPs are therefore becoming more popular at the regional level. They are seen as a modern approach towards facilitating movement of goods, persons and services across national borders. The OSBP concept promotes simplification of controls at borders through a one-time check at the border between two countries. In practice, OSBP is achieved by placing the border officials of two adjoining countries at each other’s adjoining border post so that border control checks will be jointly conducted by relevant officers from the two neighbouring countries at once on the side of the entry country. Once such a check has taken place on one side of the border, no other check will follow. Operating OSBPs requires a tight coordinated cooperation between the agencies present at borders including immigration, police, customs, health etc.

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.

Court Hears an Application seeking Court’s Order for Stay of Signing the EPA by Partner States

East African Court of Justice; Arusha, Tanzania; 15 March 2017:
The First Instance Division heard an Application filed by Castro Pius Shirima a Tanzanian resident against the EAC Partner States and the Secretary General. The Applicant is seeking the Court’s order for stay of signing the European Partnership Agreement (EPA). According to the status of the Partner States on the signing of EPA, the Counsels representing the Respondents confirmed that the Republics of Kenya and Rwanda have signed the Agreement. And Kenya has even ratified. However they are asking Court to order the 2 Partner States stay any other pending procedures.

The Applicant’s agent Mr. Moto Matiko Mabanga, submitted that, it is very clear that Kenya and Rwanda have signed the EPA, however they also have to come to an agreement with other EAC Partner States to sign one single document of the Agreement.  He also said that the Republic of South Sudan as a state which did due diligence before joining the Community and the fact that it is a member of the EAC, makes it automatically part of the negotiation and therefore it cannot say it was not involved in the negotiations.

He further urged that the Community must ensure that it does not fall into the same disagreements and different conclusions by different Partner States which led to the collapse of the previous EAC, but rather achieve the fundamental Principles of the Community, to build a sustainable Community and its economy.

Moto also said that, the legal representatives of the EAC should not be involved into arguing on the technicalities but look at what will sustain the region. He again added that, even if Kenya and Rwanda signed the EPA, due to purposes of Justice, it can be reversed. He finally called Court grant orders as sought.

Mr. Nestor Kayobera representing Burundi submitted that, the Applicant is requesting Court to stop the Partner States which have not signed stay from signing but did not ask for withdrawal of those that have signed already. He further said that, it is the 1st Respondent’s contention that, the Application is not necessary neither desirable in accordance to Article 39 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community on granting of interim orders. Article 39 provides that, “the Court may in a case referred to it make any interim orders or issue any directions which it considers necessary or desirable”

He also added that Burundi as sovereign state will sign EPA at an appropriate time as other Partner States have signed.

Further still, Kayobera submitted that, the Court has set three conditions for granting interim orders; 1) that if the Reference has a pre-mafacie case and a probability of success. That in his view there is no pre-mafacie case and no probability of success; 2) that if the Applicant will suffer irreparable injury, he urged that, the Applicant has not shown court which economic injury he will suffer if the 1ST Respondent signs the EPA; 3) that the other important condition is that the Court will consider the balance of convenience. He also added that the Applicant has not shown why he is requesting for the stay but rather based on his arguments which are speculative. He asked Court to dismiss the Application.

2nd Respondent Kenya represented by Ms. Jenifer Gitiri, submitted that they raised points of pre-preliminary objections pursuant to rule 41 of the EACJ Rules of Procedure; whether the Court has jurisdiction to hear the matter; whether the disputes raised by the Applicant are a dismissible; whether an order of stay should be granted especially for Kenya which has signed the agreement already.

Ms. Gitiri urged that, pursuant to Article 27 (1) of the Treaty which provides that; “Court’s jurisdiction to interpret under this paragraph shall not include the application of any such interpretation to jurisdiction conferred by the Treaty on organs of Partner States”. She further said that the signing of EPA is a Treaty making process which is a mandate of the sovereign state and therefore jurisdiction of the Court does not extend to the sovereignty of the Partner States in EAC.

She also submitted that the process of signing of EPA begun way back in 2004 under the APC African Pacific Caribbean group of states under EU and that mandate was in exercise of their sovereignty as states, that so it cannot be challenged in this court. She again stated that EPA negotiation were made pursuant to Article 37 of the Protocol for the Establishment of EAC Customs Union as well as Article 37(1) of the Protocol for the Establishment of EAC Common market, that therefore it cannot be admissible in this Court.

Ms. Gitiri also urged that Article 130 (3) of the Treaty provides that “with a view to contributing towards the achievement of the objectives of the Community, the Community shall foster co-operative arrangements with other regional and international organizations whose activities have a bearing on the objectives of the Community” She therefore added that when EAC Member States agreed to negotiate on the EPA, they were doing it to foster the activities that are a bearing to the objectives of the Community. That therefore the Applicant cannot purport to stop the functions of the sovereign states in signing this agreement. Again she added that on the 17th Extra-ordinary Summit, the Heads of State discussed the issue and agreed that they will meet at a later time so that other Members which have not signed can sign. She therefore submitted that if the Summit have seized the issue then it is not admissible to this Court. 

The 2nd Respondent (Kenya) further contended that according to Article 30 (2) of the Treaty which provides that; “any proceedings must be constituted within two months from the day the Applicant came into the knowledge of the complaint”. She added that the negotiation in EAC started in 2004 and the EAC Member states chose configuration where they will negotiate as the block. From that time the Summit met in 2004 and 2007 and made decision that they will negotiate. That the negotiation were completed in 2014 when the agreement was initiated by the Heads of State which signified the finalization of the EPA negotiation and the Partner states proceeded with the legal translation of the documents and completed in September 2015. She therefore challenged the Applicant that failure to file the dispute within the time limit as stipulated in the Treaty makes the application being time barred and so asked Court to dismiss the Application.

In addition Ms. Gitiri submitted that, the Applicant has not tendered any evidence to Court, how he will be prejudiced by the signing of the EPA. That failure to do that the Application should not be granted.

Mr. Onguso also for the 2nd Respondent added that the Applicant failed to demonstrate the other processes that should be stayed as against the States which have already signed and ratified (Kenya and Rwanda) and also that he failed to show which errors those two Partner States have made by signing the EPA. So in conclusion he said that, on that basis the applicant doesn’t qualify to benefit from the prayers he sought.

The 3rd Respondent (Rwanda), the Counsel Mr. Nicholas Ntarugera submitted that he fully supports the submissions of the 2nd Respondent (Kenya), he went ahead and said that the Applicant has failed to clarify the damages he will suffer from the signing and the Community as whole and that Rwanda signed EPA as its obligation as a Member of EAC. That the un mentioned pending procedures the Applicant is complained of should not be entertained by this court.

The 4th Respondent (South Sudan), represented by Mr. Moses Swake submitted that, RSS was not part of the negotiations which took place before its admission to EAC and that the ruling this Court will deliver will not be binding South Sudan. He furthers added that the Applicant has not exactly mentioned what the issue is but he just said that the EAC Member states are not working together. In his view he said that, the members came together for the benefit of the region and its people.

The 5th Respondent (Tanzania), represented by Mr. Mark Mulwambu submitted that the Applicant has no cause of action against the 5th Respondent. He also said that, Tanzania has not signed EPA and has not indicated that they intend to sign the Agreement, that the allegations by the Applicant don’t have anything substantive and therefore wastage of time and abuse of process and should be dismissed with costs.

The 6th Respondent (Uganda), represented by Elisha Bafirawara, submitted that, they associate themselves with other respondents and also added that looking at the benefits of signing EPA Agreement will bring to the EAC as a region, that they find that to injunct the process of signing will cause a lot of inconvenience to the EAC Partner States and the Applicant will not be affected at all.          

The 7th Respondent Secretary General represented by Stephen Agaba, submitted that, the Secretary General disapproves the urgency of the application and that it is based on misinformation and speculation because he did not show the cause of action against the 7th Respondent. He again said that the order sought by the Applicant court to direct the Secretary General to withdraw from negotiations, that the applicant does not know the role of the Secretary General in the negotiations of signing the Agreement.

Agaba still said that, the negotiations are spearheaded by the Heads of State and therefore the SG cannot be directed to withdraw from the negotiations. Further, that there are no negotiations going on, they were concluded and now on the level of signing and ratification and so the 7th Respondent from something that is not taking place. That they find the order sought misplaced and so be dismissed.

The Court will deliver its ruling on notice.

The matter was before Honorable Mr. Justice Isaac Lenaola (Deputy Principal Judge), Honorable Dr. Justice Faustin Ntezilyayo, Honorable Mr. Justice Fakihi A. Jundu

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For more information, please contact:

Yufnalis Okubo,
East African Court of Justice.
Tel: +255 27 2162149
Email: Okubo [at] eachq.org
East African Court of Justice
Arusha, Tanzania

About the East African Court of Justice:

The East African Court of Justice (EACJ or ‘the Court’), is one of the organs of the East African Community established under Article 9 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community. Established in November 2001, the Court’s major responsibility is to ensure the adherence to law in the interpretation and application of and compliance with the EAC Treaty.

Arusha is the temporary seat of the Court until the Summit determines its permanent seat. The Court’s sub-registries are located in the respective National Courts in the Partner States.

Regional Consultations on Draft Sanitary and Phytosanitary Bill ongoing in Nairobi, Kenya

A regional consultative meeting to finalize draft EAC Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Bill is ongoing in Nairobi, Kenya. The meeting, which was convened by the EAC Secretariat and the USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub, is being attended by Partner States’ experts in trade, agriculture, health, livestock, food security, standards, legal, regional integration, and other stake holders.

Presiding over the opening session, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in-charge of Productive and Social Sectors, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo, highlighted the growing importance of sanitary and phytosanitary measures and noted that SPS had become an important topic of debate in international trade as well as regional integration.

Hon. Bazivamo informed the participants that the fundamental importance of SPS matters is linked mainly to Agriculture and trade in agricultural products, which is the mainstay of the economies of EAC Partner States. The EAC official acknowledged that agricultural trade continues to represent a notable portion of intra-EAC total trade flows and that there was enormous potential to increase and urged the EAC Partner States to adequately address and enforce issues around SPS measures and standards.

Taking stock of the progress, Hon. Bazivamo commended the EAC Secretariat, Partner States and non-state actors for the progress made and milestones reached in 2016. He noted that following adoption of the SPS Protocol in 2013; a strong foundation for supporting implementation of the Protocol had been laid. This includes finalization of SPS measures and setting in motion the process of developing SPS Bill. The SPS Bill is expected to facilitate effective implementation and enforcement of the SPS Protocol in the entire Community.

Hon. Bazivamo commended USAID East Africa Office for their sustained efforts in supporting Regional Integration and USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub for supporting the EAC SPS agenda.

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  |  sgoffice@eachq.org