Africa's First Superpower? Could the East Africa Federation Become a Reality?

In this blog we're gonna be looking at the east African federation a proposed country composed of the six members of the east African community and possibly the democratic republic of Congo that would be one of the largest countries in the world and a contender for the first African superpower anyway let's get straight into it the east African federation would be a new country made of Tanzania Kenya Uganda Rwanda Burundi and south Sudan the six current members of the east African community otherwise known as the eac although it would be pretty poor to begin with the eaf would have the potential to be Africa's first superpower in the relatively near future with a population of around 195 million people the eaf would be the second most populous country in Africa after Nigeria and the eighth most populous country in the whole world it would have a land mass of around two and a half million square kilometers the largest in Africa and the 10th largest in the world its largest city would be dar es salaam in Tanzania which has a population of around 7 million people although its capital would most likely be arusha a smaller city in Tanzania near the Kenyan border which currently hosts the administrative headquarters of the eac while the official language would be English the lingua franca would most likely be Swahili and the currency would most likely be the east African shilling which was used by Kenya Tanzania and Uganda until the 60s admittedly the eaf would be pretty poor it would have a GDP of less than 224 billion dollars which for context would put it about 49th in the world just below Portugal and the GDP per capita of around just 1 150 which would put it about 180th in the world but there's reasons to be hopeful east Africa has consistently been the fastest growing region in Africa in recent decades from 2010 until the pandemic Uganda averaged five percent annual GDP growth Kenya and Tanzania about six percent and Rwanda about seven percent making Rwanda one of the fastest growing countries in the world as a whole the EAC's GDP excluding south Sudan grew an impressive 92 percent from 106 billion dollars in 2010 to about 204 billion dollars in 2019 for context that would amount to an impressive average compound growth rate of 7.5 percent if the eac continued on this path of rapid growth or even experienced increased growth thanks to the new economies of scale then it could rapidly become a relatively wealthy country and it's not impossible to imagine it being Africa's next superpower now this might sound like a wild idea those of you who know anything about African history will know that drawing appropriate borders in Africa is to put it lightly a bit difficult but these countries and especially Kenya Uganda and Tanzania have been cooperating with one another for the best part of a hundred years the three countries were united as Britain's east African colony in 1919 when the east African currency board was introduced there was then the east African high commission from 1948 to 1967 then the east African common services organization from 1961 to 1967 and finally today's east African community founded in 1967. at the time the eac was basically a customs and currency union the three countries all used the east African shilling and set the same external tariffs things went well for the first 10 years or so but the eac unfortunately collapsed in 1977 thanks to diverging political systems there was a dictatorship under ed Armend in Uganda socialism in Tanzania and capitalism in Kenya the eac was revived in 1999 when the leaders of Kenya Tanzania and Uganda signed the treaty for the establishment of the east African community the eac had a four-step plan first a customs union second a common market third a monetary union and fourth and finally, political federation in 2005 the three countries agreed on the first step a customs union in 2007 Rwanda and Burundi joined the treaty and in 2010 these five countries agreed on a plan for a common market with a free trade area and harmonized regulation although there's still some way to go here largely because countries are wary of imports undercutting local businesses, for example, Kenya has locked out Ugandan milk timber sugar and maize because it would undercut Kenyan farmers south Sudan applied for membership in July the same month it formally gained independence from the republic of Sudan and its application was approved in march 2016. the republic of Sudan also applied to john in 2011 but its application was rejected thanks to its poor relations with both south Sudan and Uganda anyway when it comes to the monetary union which would essentially involve these six countries all using the same currency there's been some progress but there's still a way to go yet in 2013 every country in the eac apart from south Sudan agreed to progressively converge their currencies by harmonizing monetary and fiscal policies and Kenya Uganda Tanzania and Rwanda now present their budget simultaneously every June unfortunately a currency union still looks difficult given that a each country still has its own unique currency and b each currency has experienced wildly different exchange rate fluctuations which means convergence will be difficult anyway on to the last bit a political federation while this was originally supposed to be the last thing on the list it's been fast-tracked so that it can be implemented alongside the monetary union in 2018 a committee was set up to begin the process of drafting a regional constitution and in January 2020 the committee announced that it would have a draft constitution ready by the end of 2021 with ratification being expected by now if we're being completely honest this timetable was always a bit optimistic the committee has since struggled with delays inadequate funding and political tension between Burundi Uganda and Rwanda actually boycotted the latest round of talks and accused both Burundi and Uganda of supporting opposition political movements in Rwanda the most recent attempt to revive talks in October didn't get off the ground and the 2023 deadline looks increasingly impossible so that's the long and short of it an east African federation is still on the cards but it probably won't happen by 2023 the last thing worth mentioning is that in 2019 after an invitation by Tanzania the democratic republic of the Congo applied to join the eac their application is currently being considered but if they end up joining the eaf it really would be a superpower the drc is a massive country it would nearly double the area of the eaf making it the seventh largest country in the world and the fourth most populous in the world after China India and the us with a population of around 285 million people while the DRC is a remarkably poor country it has a GDP per capita of just one of the lowest in the world it's chock a block full of natural resources and would provide the eaf with a port on the west coast of Africa the point we're trying to make is that an eaf that included the DRC really could be a proper African superpower anyway what do you think is the eaf just a pipe dream or is it actually going to happen and if it does happen do you think it's a good idea let us know your thoughts in the comments below.