The East African Community (EAC) is pressing ahead with plans to introduce one-stop border posts across the region under the terms of the draft EAC One Stop Border Posts (OSBPs) Bill adopted at a meeting in Arusha at the end of May.

The proposal sets out the legal framework for the creation of OSBPs within the context of the establishment of a regional common market under the terms of the Common Market Protocol, which comes into force on 1 July 2010. Under the present system it is necessary to clear customs twice during a border crossing, on leaving one country and entering the next.

However, the draft bill still has a number of legislative and bureaucratic hurdles to clear before it can take effect.

EAC was founded in Arusha on 30 November 1999 on the back of the defunct East African Community (1967-1977). Originally it comprised Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya but now Rwanda and Burundi are also members.

So far achievements include the introduction of a customs union in 2005 and the launch of the East Africa roads network project, a programme to develop cross-border road links to facilitate regional trade.

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