The 8 countries that could cease to exist and instead become one giant nation | World | News

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Eight sovereign states in the African continent are taking steps to become a single federated state.

The creation of the East African Federation has been in the making since the early 1960s, and initially involved Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, and Zanzibar.

While Tanganyika and Zanzibar have since become Tanzania, the superstate has yet to become a reality.

Over the years, however, new countries expressed their desire to become part of the East African Federation – with eight nations currently working towards this goal: Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Somalia and Uganda.

The project gained new traction in 2010, when the then five members of the intergovernmental organisation East African Community (EAC) launched their own common market. Five years prior, in 2005, the then-smaller EAC had already introduced a customs union.

The group failed to reach the goals it had envisioned in the early 2010s – launching a common currency by 2013 and reaching a political unification by 2015 – but in 2016 earned a new member – South Sudan.

The DRC joined the group in 2022, while the latest to embrace the dream of the Federation has been Somalia, in 2024.

The latest additions to the group may mean more delays for the creation of the Federation, as South Sudan is affected by serious infrastructure problems as well as by a dire human rights and humanitarian crisis in the wake of the ongoing civil war.

Moreover, despite both being members of the East African Community, the relations between DRC and Rwanda are strained and there are growing fears a war could erupt between them.

Other challenges slowing down the creation of the East African Federation include ethnic and linguistic differences.

Swahili, a language spoken by more than 200 million people, has been proposed as the lingua franca of the region, but the fact it is used more by some member states than others may be a barrier to its adoption.

Despite the issues they face, the eight members of the East African Community continue to work on their unification process.

More than a decade after the launch of the common market, the EAC announced in January 2023 that it would be pursuing a roll-out of a single currency within the following four years.

The last step needed for the creation of the massive state is political unification. In May 2023, the EAC Committee of Experts met Kenyan President William Ruto who urged to “fast-track” the process, in hopes of drawing up the first draft of a unified constitution by June this year.

Should the Federation become a reality, it would become the fourth-largest country in Africa, with its border spanning from the Indian to the Atlantic Ocean.

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