Four years to go, single currency still elusive

Monday December 07 2020
Uganda currency.

In 2014, member states ratified the East African Monetary Union. PHOTO | FILE | NMG

By The EastAfrican

Only four years remain for the East African Community’s Monetary Union to come into effect, and analysts now say that it is almost impossible to beat the 2024 deadline.

On November 30, 2013, EAC Heads of State signed the Monetary Union Protocol in Munyonyo, Kampala, outlining a 10-year roadmap to realise a single currency. In 2014, member states ratified the East African Monetary Union, which is the third pillar in the region’s integration process.

“Establishment of a stable Monetary Union requires a strong institutional framework to monitor and enforce convergence.  For this purpose, the EAMU protocol provides for the establishment of four support institutions,” said Pantaleo Kessy, head of monetary and fiscal affairs at the EAC secretariat.

The institutions are the East African Monetary Institute, the East African Statistics Bureau, the East African Surveillance, Compliance and Enforcement Commission, and the East African Financial Services Commission. 

However, governments in the region are still harmonising the policies required to attain a single currency by 2024.

“The remaining period of four years is not realistic to implement the Monetary Union protocol because there is little that has been done by partner states towards harmonising domestic policies and laws,” said former EAC deputy secretary general Jean, Claude Nsengiyumva.


Mr Nsengiyumva told The EastAfrican that even though member states have been slow to fully implement the protocols, the signing should go on.

According to the East African Monetary Institute (EAMI) Act 2019, the Act shall come into force whenever the Council publishes it in a gazette notice. 

The Council was expected to meet in November 2020 and provide guidance on the Act.

Once established, EAMI is expected to undertake all preparatory work towards the establishment of the Monetary Union.

“The Council meeting did not take place so the guidance was not provided,” said Mr Kessy.

Meanwhile, the Bill for the establishment of East African Bureau of Statistics was passed by the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) in September 2018, and is awaiting assent by the heads of state.

Bills for the establishment of EAC Surveillance, Compliance and Enforcement Commission, and the Financial Services Commission were considered by the Council in May 2019, and forwarded to the Sectoral Council on Legal and Judicial Affairs for legal input.  

“Even the Common Market Protocol has been violated so we don’t expect the Monetary Union soon if the situation remains as it is,” said an Eala legislator.