EAC States on the verge of attaining one network area

Friday, January 13th, 2023 09:40 | By
EAC secretary general Peter Mathuki with President William Ruto at State House Nairobi. PHOTO/Courtesy

The East African Community (EAC) partner states are on the verge of achieving a one network area (ONA), which promises cheaper calls across the bloc because of harmonised calling rates. EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki yesterday said apart from Tanzania, other partner States namely Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda had signed up.

The EAC countries made a joint commitment in 2014 to create an ONA for the five economies of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda, with the benefits also being extended to South Sudan.

“Once Tanzania has completed the regulations to accommodate the one network area, then the EAC will have fully implemented the one network area,” said Mathuki. Burundi , he said, will join this year as their documents are “at high level for approval.”

Achieving a one area network will facilitate trade within the block through cheap calling rates. ONA caps cross-border traffic calling rates at $0.1 or Sh10 per minute and eliminates mobile roaming charges.

Three-day retreat

Mathuki was speaking on the sidelines of a three-day retreat at Maanzoni Lodge, Machakos to review the secretariat’s 6thdevelopment strategy, discuss challenges hampering regional integration and outline the EAC’s 2023 priorities.

On the EAC Single Air Transport Market (EAC-SATM), he said only Kenya, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have signed the memorandum of implementation. Currently, the secretariat is carrying out an awareness campaign for the remaining members to enable them to understand the benefits of a liberalised market, he said.

“As to the issue of timelines, this has not been set yet. We want even tomorrow, but partner states are still doing internal consultations. Once they are ready with that, we will kick off,” said Mathuki.

The EAC-SATM is part of the Africa Union’s open sky agenda, which aims to liberalise the air transport market to cut costs and boost intra-regional air transport.

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