East African Federation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Shirikisho la Afrika Mashariki
East African Federation
Nine horizontal strips coloured (from top to bottom): blue, white, black, green, yellow, green, red, white, then blue. The logo of the EAC is placed in the centre.
Motto: "One People One Destiny"
Anthem: EAC Anthem
An orthographic projection of the world, highlighting the proposed East African Federation's territory (green).
An orthographic projection of the world, highlighting the proposed East African Federation's territory (green).
Capital Arusha
Largest city Dar es Salaam
Official languages English
Lingua franca Swahili
Demonym East African
Type Proposed federation
Legislature EALA
7 July 2000
• Total
2,467,202 km2 (952,592 sq mi) (17th)
• Water (%)
• 2016 estimate
168,848,000[1] (8th)
• Density
68.4/km2 (177.2/sq mi)
GDP (PPP) 2016 estimate
• Total
US$ 439.039 billion[2]
• Per capita
US$ 2,600
GDP (nominal) 2016 estimate
• Total
US$ 155.189 billion
• Per capita
US$ 919
Time zone CAT / EAT (UTC+2 / +3)

The East African Federation (Swahili: Shirikisho la Afrika Mashariki) is a proposed political union of the six sovereign states of the East African Community – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda – as a single federated sovereign state.[3] As of 2017, six states have expressed support for the union, but negotiations continue concerning issues such as the extent of members' sovereignty and timing of implementation.[4]


At 1,820,664 square kilometres (702,962 sq mi), the East African Federation would be the fourth-largest country in Africa and 17th-largest in the world. With a population of 153,301,178,[when?] it would also be the second most populous nation in Africa (after Nigeria) and tenth in the world.[1] Its population would be greater than that of Russia, Japan and Mexico, and half that of the United States.[1] a

Swahili would be the lingua franca and the official language would be English. The proposed capital is the Tanzanian city of Arusha, which is close to the Kenyan border. Arusha is the current headquarters of the East African Community.[3]

The union's proposed currency would be the East African shilling, which according to a 2013 published report is slated to become the common currency of five of the six member countries by 2023.[5] The GDP (PPP) by (CIA World Factbook) estimate would be US$297.791 billion and be the fifth largest in Africa and 48th[2] largest in the world.


The federation of the current East African Community into a single state has been discussed, with early estimates of the founding of the federation in 2013.[6] In 2010, the EAC launched its own common market for goods, labour and capital within the region, with the goal of a common currency by 2013 and full political federation in 2015.[7]

South Sudan was approved for membership of the EAC in March 2016, and acceded in September 2016. It would become the 6th member of the East African Federation.[8] It is unclear how the potential accession of South Sudan to the EAC may affect the timeline for federation or the scope thereof, but given the infrastructure problems that persist in the fledgling country since President Salva Kiir Mayardit cut off oil commerce with Sudan, the South has decided to invest in constructing pipelines that circumvent Sudan's, which it had been using until that time. These new pipelines would extend through Ethiopia to the ports of Djibouti, as well as to the southeast to the coast of Kenya.[9] These collaborations could increase the likelihood of South Sudan joining the East African Federation at some point.[10]

On 14 October 2013, the leaders of Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi began a meeting in Kampala intending to draft a constitution for the East African Federation.[11]

As of December 2014, efforts for a full political federation have been pushed back to 2016 or later.[12]

In February 2016, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni described the union as “the number one target that we should aim at”.[13]

In November 2016 the EAC Council of Ministers agreed to create an East African Confederation before the East African Federation is eventually created.[14]

1960s Proposal[edit]

Proposed East African Federation in the 1960s

In the early 1960s, around the time Kenya, Tanganyika, Uganda and Zanzibar were gaining independence from the United Kingdom, the political leaders of the four nations had become interested in forming a federation. Julius Nyerere, even offered in 1960 to delay the imminent independence of Tanganyika (due in 1961) in order for all of the East African territories to achieve independence together as a federation.

In June 1963, Kenyatta met with the Tanganyikan President Julius Nyerere and Ugandan President Milton Obote in Nairobi. The trio discussed the possibility of merging their three nations (plus Zanzibar) into a single East African Federation, declaring that this would be accomplished by the end of the year.[15] and subsequently discussions on the planning for such a union were initiated.

Privately, Kenyatta was more reluctant regarding the arrangement and as 1964 came around the federation had not come to pass.[16] In May 1964, Kenyatta rejected a back-benchers resolution calling for speedier federation.[16] He publicly stated that talk of a federation had always been a ruse to hasten the pace of Kenyan independence from Britain, but Nyerere denied that this was true.[16] Around the same time Obote came out against an East African federation in favour of pan-African unity, partly because of domestic political pressures with the ceremonial kingdom of Buganda being opposed to being in an East African federation as part of Uganda but rather as a unit in its own right.

By late 1964 the prospects for a wider East African federation had died, although Tanganyika and Zanzibar did form a union in April 1964 (the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, later renamed as the United Republic of Tanzania in October 1964).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "The World Factbook". cia.gov. Retrieved 24 July 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects". imf.org. Retrieved 24 July 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Uganda Sunday Vision (2004-11-28): One president for EA by 2010". Sundayvision.co.ug. 28 November 2004. Archived from the original on 31 October 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  4. ^ CHRISTABEL LIGAMI (3 May 2014). "Sharp differences emerge over structure, timing of EAC political federation". The East African. Retrieved 3 Apr 2015. 
  5. ^ "East African trade bloc approves monetary union deal". 30 November 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2018 – via Reuters. 
  6. ^ The African Executive. "James Shikwati (2006-06-14) The Benefits of the East Africa Federation to the Youth. The African Executive". Africanexecutive.com. Archived from the original on 15 May 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  7. ^ https://af.reuters.com/article/kenyaNews/idAFLDE65T2AJ201007001?sp=true. Retrieved 7 July 2010.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  8. ^ "South Sudan admitted into EAC", Daily Nation, 2 March 2016, reprinted at nation.co.ke, accessed 4 March 2016
  9. ^ "South Sudan Oil Transit to Resume, Lamu Project will continue". GroundReport. 2012-03-16. Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  10. ^ "EAC prepares to admit South Sudan". theeastafrican.co.ke. Retrieved 24 July 2016. 
  11. ^ Sudan Tribune. "ST (2013-10-15) Uganda hosts meeting of experts to fast-track political federation of East Africa". SudanTribune.com. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  12. ^ "East Africa: Further Delays for the EAC Political Federation". December 20, 2014. Retrieved May 4, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Ahead of election, Museveni says he wants to build East African superstate #UgandaDecides". Newsweek. Retrieved 2016-10-22. 
  14. ^ Ubwani, Zephania (2016-11-30). "East Africa: Finally, East African Nations Agree to Disagree On Federation". The Citizen (Dar es Salaam). Retrieved 2017-08-24. 
  15. ^ Arnold 1974, p. 173; Assensoh 1998, p. 55; Kyle 1997, p. 58.
  16. ^ a b c Arnold 1974, p. 174.


  • Arnold, Guy (1974). Kenyatta and the Politics of Kenya. London: Dent. ISBN 0-460-07878-X. 
  • Assensoh, A. B. (1998). African Political Leadership: Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkrumah, and Julius K. Nyerere. Malabar, Florida: Krieger Publishing Company. ISBN 9780894649110. 
  • Kyle, Keith (1997). "The Politics of the Independence of Kenya". Contemporary British History. 11 (4): 42–65. doi:10.1080/13619469708581458.