The Republic of Uganda, the Republic of Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania have enjoyed close historical, commercial, industrial, cultural and other ties for many years.
Formal economic and social integration in the East African region commenced with, among other things, the construction of the Kenya Uganda Railway 1897 – 1901, the establishment of the Customs Collection Centre 1900, the East African Currency Board 1905, the Postal union 1905, the Court of Appeal for Eastern Africa 1909, the Customs Union 1919, the East African Governors Conference 1926, the East African Income Tax Board 1940 and the Joint Economic Council 1940;
Provision was made by the East Africa (High Commission) Orders in Council 1947 – 1961, the East African Common Services Organisation Agreements 1961 – 1966, and the Treaty for East African Co-operation 1967 for the establishment respectively; of the East Africa High Commission, the East African Common Services Organisation and the East African Community as successive joint organizations of the said Countries to control and administer certain matters of common interest and to regulate the commercial and industrial relations and transactions between the said countries and by means of a central legislature to enact on behalf of the said countries laws relevant to the purposes of the said joint organizations;
In 1977 the Treaty for East African Co-operation establishing the East African Community was officially dissolved, the main reasons contributing to the collapse of the East African Community being lack of strong political will, lack of strong participation of the private sector and civil society in the co-operation activities, the continued disproportionate sharing of benefits of the community among the Partner States due to their differences in their levels of development and lack of adequate policies to address this situation;
Upon the dissolution of the East African Community the said countries signed on the 14th day of May, 1984, at Arusha, in Tanzania the East African Community Mediation Agreement 1984, hereinafter referred to as “the Mediation Agreement” for the division of the assets and liabilities of the former East African Community;
Pursuant to article 14.02 of the Mediation Agreement the countries agreed to explore and identify areas for future co-operation and to make arrangements for such co-operation;
On the 30th day of November, 1993, provision was made by the Agreement for the Establishment of a Permanent Tripartite Commission for Co-operation between the Republic of Uganda, the Republic of Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania for the establishment of the Permanent Tripartite Commission for Co-operation hereinafter referred to as “the Tripartite Commission” to be responsible for the co-ordination of economic, social, cultural, security and political issues among the said countries and a Declaration was also made by the Heads of State of the said countries for closer East African co-operation;
On the 26th day of November, 1994, provision was made by the Protocol on the establishment of a Secretariat of the Permanent Tripartite Commission for Co-operation between the Republic of Uganda, the Republic of Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania, for the establishment of the Secretariat of the Tripartite Commission for Co-operation between the Republic of Uganda, the Republic of Kenya and the United republic of Tanzania to act as Secretariat of the Tripartite Commission, hereinafter referred to as “the Secretariat of the Tripartite Commission” ;
On the 29th day of April 1997 at Arusha in Tanzania, the Heads of State of the said countries after reviewing the progress made by the Tripartite commission, in the development of closer co-operation between the said countries in the fiscal, monetary, immigration, infrastructure and service fields and after approving the East African Co-operation Development Strategy for the period 1997 – 2000, directed the Tripartite Commission to embark on negotiations for the upgrading of the Agreement establishing the Tripatite Commission into a Treaty;
The Founding Nations, the Republic of Uganda, the Republic of Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania were subsequently joined on the 1st day of July 2007 by the Republic of Burundi and the Republic of Rwanda as members of the East African Community.
The said countries, with a view to strengthening their co-operation are resolved to adhere themselves to the fundamental and operational principles that shall govern the achievement of the objectives set out in the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community and the principles of international law governing relationships between sovereign states;
Furthermore, the said countries, with a view to realising a fast and balanced regional development are resolved to creating an enabling environment in all the Partner States in order to attract investments and allow the private sector and civil society to play a leading role in the socio-economic development activities through the development of sound macro-economic and Sectoral policies and their efficient management while taking cognizance of the developments in the world economy as contained in the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organisation, 1995 referred to as “the WTO Agreement” and as may be decided by Partner States, the development of technological capacity for improved productivity;
The said countries desire to foster and to promote greater awareness of the shared interest of their people;
The said countries are resolved to act in concert to achieve the objectives set out in the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community; to strengthen their economic, social, cultural, political, technological and other ties for their fast balanced and sustainable development by the establishment of an east African Community, with an East African Customs Union and a Common Market as transitional stages to and integral parts thereof, subsequently a Monetary Union and ultimately a Political Federation.
The Treaty paved the way for the creation of various EAC bodies – the Summit of Heads of State, the Council of Ministers, the Co-ordination Committee, Sectoral Committees, the East African Legislative Assembly, the East African Court of Justice and the EAC Secretariat.
The East African Legislative assembly (EALA), which is the independent, legislative arm of the Community, was formally inaugurated by the Heads of State of the original three EAC Partners States at its first sitting in Arusha, Tanzania on the 30th day of November 2001. Hon. Abdulrahman O. Kinana, an Elected Members from Tanzania, was unanimously elected as the Speaker of the First Assembly.