The Treaty For The Establishment of The East African Community (EAC)

The Treaty for Establishment of the East African Community was signed on 30 November 1999 and entered into force on 7 July 2000 following its ratification by the original 3 Partner States – Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The Republic of Rwanda and the Republic of Burundi acceded to the EAC Treaty on 18th June 2007 and became full Members of the Community with effect from 1st July 2007

Objectives and approach

The EAC aims at widening and deepening co-operation among the Partner States in, among others, political, economic and social fields for their mutual benefit.

Institutional structure

The Community has the following institutional structure:

  • The Summit comprising of heads of government of partner states gives general direction towards the realisation of the goal and objectives of the Community;
  • The Council of Ministers is the main decision-making institution. It is made up of ministers from the partner states responsible for regional co-operation;
  • The Co-ordinating Committee consists of permanent secretaries and reports to the council. It is responsible for regional co-operation and co-ordinates the activities of the sectoral committee;
  • Sectoral Committees conceptualise programmes and monitor their implementation. Council establishes the committees on recommendation of the respective co-ordinating committee;
  • The East African Court of Justice ensures that Community law is interpreted and implemented in line with the Treaty;
  • The East African Legislative Assembly provides a democratic forum for debate. It has a watchdog function and also plays a part in the legislative process; and
  • The Secretariat is the executive organ of the Community. As the guardian of the Treaty, it ensures that regulations and directives adopted by the Council are properly implemented
Work areas

The EAC requires parties to:

  • promote and strengthen the utilisation of training facilities and research institutions;
  • adopt common policies and regulations for the conservation, management and development of fisheries resources;
  • establish investment guidelines for inland and marine waters;
  • ensure sustainable utilisation of natural resources like lakes, wetlands, forests and other aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems;
  • establish a body for the management of Lake Victoria;
  • adopt common regulations for the better management and development of marine parks, reserves, wetlands and controlled areas.

The Treaty also sets out the overall objective of cooperation in agriculture and rural development as the achievement of food security and national agricultural production. The Partner States have therefore undertaken to adopt a scheme for the rationalisation, improvement and commercialisation of agricultural production and rural development with a view to promoting complementarity and sustainability of rural like. The East African Agriculture and Rural Development Strategy sets out specific objectives, notably to promote sustainable use and management of natural resources (soil, water, fisheries and forest) in order to conserve the environment.

A Protocol on Environment and Natural Resources Management has been drafted and adopted by the Member States in 2006. However, it did not enter into force yet. The Protocol should apply to all activities, matters and areas of management of the environment and natural resources of the Partner States, including: the sustainable environment and natural resources management, conservation of biological diversity, management of forest and tree resources, management of wildlife resources, etc. (see Article 3). Some of its objectives are to promote sustainable development and utilisation of the environment and natural resources through prevention of activities that are detrimental, and to promote development and harmonisation of policies, laws and strategies for environment and natural resources management to support sustainable development.