On Wednesday, the East African Heads of State unveiled a new generation e-passport in a summit held in Arusha, Tanzania. The e-passport is expected to help build a long lasting relationship amongst East African nations.
The Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC), Mr Richard Sezibera, while speaking to newsmen said “This is the time for creating a truly African market, (Through the use of the e-passport) – In goods, and services including financial services. This is the time for shared industrialization, creating value chains across countries and regions. I am glad East Africa continues to be at the forefront of integration and growth.”
The e-passport was scheduled to launch in November last year but was postponed to allow more time to address pending issues on the travel document. The summit was preceded by a meeting of the EAC council of ministers which took place early last year at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha .
The EAC trading bloc includes Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and Tanzania. The new passport will also be used for travel around the world while strengthening trade relations within the region.
This latest development puts East Africa in the league of other regions like West Africa and North Africa where unified passports are already in use.