Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

East Africa: What's That in East African Shillings, Please?

analysis

The East African Community - way ahead of SADC, again - has laid the groundwork for a new single currency between its five member states. If it works, it has the potential to transform the region's economy.

The late (and not particularly lamented) Colonel Muammar Gaddafi had a string of crazy ideas to bring about his vision of a united pan-Africa with himself at its helm. One of these was the African Union in its current form; another, the continent-wide adoption of a single currency, to be known as the Afro, backed by Libyan gold and, presumably, etched with the face and tousled locks of Brother Leader himself.

While the African Union was an idea that stuck, the impetus behind the single currency died with Gaddafi. It's going to be a long time, if ever, before you keep Afros in your wallet.

There is one region, however, that has kept the dream of a single currency alive for themselves. The East African Community (EAC) - an invitation-only regional body comprised of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda - has been in talks for the past four years, trying to figure out whether the idea is viable and...

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