PUBLISHED ON May 12th, 2015

Coalition of the willing ‘a thing of the past’

COALITION of the willing which created so much fuss in the East African integration process in the past one year is a thing of the past.

The TradeMark Africa Country Director, Dr Josephat Kweka, said last week that East African Community member states had become more aware of provisions under the EAC treaty which allow some members to expedite implementation of some projects.

“Coalition of the willing is a thing of the past. It is not helpful to discuss it now (because) it was realized it was a misconception,” he told reporters in Dar es Salaam in a familiarization meeting with editors.

“We came at a point that we understood that with EAC treaty there are provisions for some member states to accelerate implementation of some projects,” he said.

Tension arose among the EAC member states as Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda were being seen to be fast-tracking implementation of some projects in the region and referred to themselves as the coalition of the willing. Tanzania and Burundi, were seen to be taking a more cautious approach on the integration progress.

The three members of the willing had held high-level meetings to which other members did not attend sparking fears that Tanzania might eventually pull out of the community which were however calmed down by President Jakaya Kikwete in his rare address to Parliament in November 2013.

President Kikwete explained that Tanzania was taking a more cautious approach and had stuck to principles in the process as agreed in the treaty.

“We did not agree on fasttracking the political federation without completing the other steps,” said Kikwete in the same parliamentary address.

“We have been frank about this in the appropriate forums of the EAC. Our stand comes from principle. That is, we must establish first the economic and financial mechanisms and let them take root.”

New developments in the regional integration process seem to give credence to Dr Kweka’s remarks.

The region have launched multibillion infrastructure projects in the central and northern transport corridors to facilitate import and exports in the region.

Tanzania controls the Central Corridor (1,300 km long) which begins at the port of Dar es Salaam and serves Tanzania, Zambia, Rwanda, Burundi and Eastern DRC.

Under the central corridor, Tanzania is mobilizing funds for major road and railway infrastructure projects as well as expansion and modernization of the Dar es Salaam port. The projects include revamping of the central railway line and construction of a Standard Gauge Railway line to link Dar es Salaam port with Burundi and Eastern DR Congo.

Kenya on the other hand controls the Northern Corridor (1,700 km long) commencing from the port of Mombasa which serves Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Eastern DRC.

Key projects under the northern corridor include the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway line that will connect the Mombasa port to Nairobi and eventually Kampala and Kigali. Others are energy, roads, ICT, and oil pipelines for the region’s budding oil sector.

Single Customs Territory is one of the key areas that Tanzania was seen to be delaying, however the government has already announced it was going for full fledged Single Customs Territory (SCT) in the next financial year, thanks to the successful and efficient piloting of the system since July 2014.

Source: Daily News

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TradeMark Africa.