Rwanda, Burundi joins East African Community in November
Rwanda and Burundi has concluded the signing of agreements accepting all conditions, including joining the two year old East African Customs Union. The agreement was signed by EAC permanent secretaries led by Kenya's Foreign Affairs PS, Peter Nkuraiyia.
The official pronouncement will be made at the specially convened meeting of the EA ministers responsible for the regional integration in Arusha mid November, according to EAC secretary general, Juma Mwapachu. And the ministers' recommendation will be presented at the EAC Summit, the final ruling body, scheduled for November 30 in Dar es Salaam.
Mr. Mwapachu said after the two countries' accession, that the region's base for investments and trade would be widened, making it attractive for development. The bloc will have a total population of about 110 million with massive opportunities in agriculture, tourism and mining.
During the negotiations, both countries wanted to delay joining the EA Customs Union by about three years, but this was rejected by the negotiators. Under the agreements, the two countries will endorse the gradual elimination of the internal tariffs by 2010 as agreed by the founding partners - Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
After their admission, Burundi and Rwanda will be allowed to use the East African passport.