What to know about the East African Community

Sep 16 2023

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of 6 Partner States:

  1. the Republic of Burundi
  2. the Republic of Kenya
  3. the Republic of Rwanda
  4. the Republic of South Sudan
  5. the United Republic of Tanzania,
  6. and the Republic of Uganda

The EAC has its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. The current population of Eastern Africa is 464,755,593.

History of the EAC

The East African Community was started when Presidents Daniel arap Moi of Kenya, Ali Hassan Mwinyi of Tanzania, and Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda signed the Treaty for East African Co-operation in Kampala on 30 November 1993.

In doing so, they established a Tri-partite Commission for Co-operation. Eastern Africa is populated by 160 different ethnic groups or more, depending on the method of counting.

Documents Needed To Travel to East African Community

It’s our pleasure to welcome you to our beautiful corner of the world. To make sure you’re set for a trip to the EAC, be sure to have ready your:

  • Passport
  • Visa (for non-EAC citizens)
  • Alternative travel documents for East Africans
  • Other requirements for East Africans (Certificate of Identity / Inter-State Pass)

Choosing how to travel in the East African Community

Navigating the East African Community can be done in a number of ways. Please read to see the most convenient options for you.

Traveling the East African Community by Air:

The East African Community is connected to the world by a network of international airports, most of which are located in or adjacent to the region’s major cities. Most major towns in different Partner States also possess smaller airports.

The Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency (CASSOA), an institution of the East African Community, works closely with national civil aviation authorities to ensure that air travel in the region is safe.

Traveling the East African Community by Road:

There is a host of bus services connecting all East African capitals and major cities, but with EAC-enhanced co-operation in the area of transport, East Africans can now drive private cars across borders and across the entire EAC region, free of charge, for visits no longer than seven (7) days.

The maximum period allowed for one to use a car not registered in the host Partner State is six (6) months, although you will be required to pay $20 per month as temporary road licence after the seven-day grace period has elapsed. Anyone using a private car has to fill a form, obtainable at border crossing points or local Revenue Authority office, which grants permission for free access for a week.

A valid driver’s licence is required for driving in any of the Partner States.

Ensure that your car is insured before you travel, with a valid sticker displayed on your vehicle as proof of insurance (seek advice from your insurer on the available insurance options). Also make sure you carry an original copy of your car Log Book or at the very least, a photocopy.

Ports of entry in the East African Community

The following ports of entry apply to road transport only*:

  • Kenya – Uganda border: Busia and Malaba
  • Kenya – Tanzania border: Namanga and Holili
  • Tanzania – Uganda border: Mutukula
  • Tanzania – Burundi border: Kigoma
  • Tanzania – Rwanda border: Rusumo
  • Rwanda – Burundi border: Akanyaru
  • Rwanda – Uganda border: Gatuna / Katuna
  • South Sudan – Uganda border: Busia
  • South Sudan – Kenya border:

Traveling to the East African Community by Sea:

The region’s principle seaports include:

  • Mombasa in Kenya
  • Dar es Salaam, Mtwara, and Tanga in Tanzania

The best time to travel to the East African Community

There are a number of factors that affect when and how you should travel to the East African Community. Below, we’ve broken the best time to travel to East Africa based on weather, time zones and public holidays.

Weather in East Africa

Climatic conditions vary from tropical to temperate, depending on elevation.

There are two common rain seasons in the Partner States: the long rains from late March to early May, and the short rains, from late October to early December.

Time zones in East Africa

Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda belong to the East Africa Time zone, which is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+3).

Rwanda and Burundi belong to the Central Africa Time zone. CAT is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2).

Public holidays in East Africa

Most government institutions close on public holidays in EAC Partner States, although immigration points (airports, border entry points etc) remain open.

Similarly, most business fixtures remain closed on such days.

Below is a table showing the official public holidays in the EAC Partner States:

Burundi

  • 1 Jan New Year’s Day
  • 5 Feb Unity Day
  • 1 May Labour Day
  • 21 May Ascension
  • 1 Jul Independence Day
  • 15 Aug Assumption
  • 13 Oct Anniversary of Louise Rwagasore’s assassination
  • 21 Oct Anniversary of President M. Ndadaye’s assassination
  • 1 Nov All Saints’ Day
  • 25 Dec Christmas Day

Kenya

  • 1 Jan New Year’s Day
  • 1 May Labour Day
  • 1 Jun Madaraka Day
  • 20 Oct Mashujaa Day
  • 12 Dec Jamuhuri (Independence) Day
  • 25 Dec Christmas Day
  • 26 Dec Boxing Day

Rwanda

  • 1 Jan New Year’s Day
  • 1 Feb Heroes’ Day
  • 7 Apr Genocide Memorial Day
  • 1 May Labour Day
  • 1 Jul Independence Day
  • 4 Jul Liberation Day
  • 15 Aug Assumption
  • 1 Oct Patriotism Day
  • 25 Dec Christmas Day
  • 26 Dec Boxing Day

South Sudan

  • 1 Jan New Year’s Day
  • 9 Jan Peace Agreement Day
  • Easter Sunday
  • 1 May International Labour Day
  • 16 May SPLA Day
  • 9 Jul Independence Day
  • Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)
  • 30 Jul Martyrs’ Day
  • Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice)
  • 25 Dec Christmas Day
  • 26 Dec Boxing Day
  • 28 Dec Republic Day

United Republic of Tanzania

  • 1 Jan New Year’s Day
  • 12 Jan Zanzibar Revolution Day
  • 26 Apr Union Day
  • 1 May Labour Day
  • 7 Jul Saba Saba Day
  • 8 Aug Nane Nane Day
  • 14 Oct Nyerere Day
  • 9 Dec Independence and Republic Day
  • 25 Dec Christmas Day
  • 26 Dec Boxing Day

Uganda

  • 1 Jan New Year’s Day
  • 26 Jan Liberation Day
  • 8 Mar International Women’s Day
  • 1 May Labour Day
  • 3 Jun Martyrs’ Day
  • 9 Jun National Heroes’ Day
  • 9 Oct Independence Day
  • 25 Dec Christmas Day
  • 26 Dec Boxing Day

Note: Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramdhan) and Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) festivals are determined by local sightings of various phases of the moon and are, upon confirmation, declared public holidays in four of the five EAC Partner States, namely: Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

Culture in the East African Community

The Republic of Burundi, the Republic of Kenya, the Republic of Rwanda, the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Uganda have enjoyed and continued to enjoy close educational, scientific, social, economic and cultural ties for their mutual benefit.

The EAC Partner States have shared historical, cultural and sports experience that need to be re-affirmed and reclaimed for our cultural and sporting identity.

The EAC Partner States recognise the role that Culture and Sports play in the existence and survival of our communities, particularly for social cohesion, solidarity, stability, identity, promoting unity and economic development and as tools for effective sustainable development, maintenance of peace, security and healthy societies.

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