Quite recently, the five members of the East African Community (EAC) agreed to adopt a single currency, which should go into effect within the next 10 years. Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi first came together in 2000 to create a common market and single customs union, modeled after the Eurozone. The aim is to make business a lot easier across East Africa. If their model is a success, then the entire African Union might follow suit.
When 50+ African countries are watching your every move, setting the example can be quite daunting. After all, success could contribute highly to the continued economic success of Africa (no pressure).
Of course, regional integration is a deeply political process and the implementation of a single customs territory has important political aspects.
However, East-Africans are already thinking of themselves as just that: East Africans. There are rumours that Burundi, like Rwanda, wants to adopt English as their common language in order to assure the Union’s success, and all reports following the numerous meetings between the five EAC leaders are very positive. Having spent a considerable time in all five countries myself, I am convinced that the Union will be a resounding success, even if there are quite a few reported delays at the moment.
Rome wasn’t built in a day after all. And neither was the Eurozone.