Universiteit Leiden

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Launch project of the Leiden centre for the legal and comparative study of the East African Community (LEAC)

With the economic surge in East Africa, the East African Community, formally founded in 1999 and now consisting of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, is rapidly developing. A common market is being established, and a monetary union is under construction. The EAC thereby forms an important frontier in regional integration, and holds great potential for this emerging region.

Although unique in its own right, the EAC can benefit from the lessons of over 50 years of European integration. To that end the Europa Institute of the University of Leiden, in close cooperation with Microjustice4All has established the Leiden Centre for the Legal and Comparative study of the East African Community (LEAC). The aim of this centre is to provide high-level legal research on the EAC by comparatively applying the existing expertise on the process of European integration. It will work closely with local universities and practitioners, as well as with NGO’s and business associations.

To kick-off the center a joint research project has been launched. In cooperation with Microjustice4all and local experts, and based on a needs assessment, a strategy paper on the EAC is being written. It provides an accessible overview of the current rules in the EAC. In addition it will pinpoint specific challenges in the EAC, compare them against some of the key legal developments underlying the EU, and where possible contribute suggestions for improvement.

The main fields focused on in this study are the substantive rules of free movement, legal protection, and fundamental rights. The research is being carried out by four specially selected master students of Leiden Law School, Camille Ammeloot, Michaela Croft, Virginie Etienne and Magdalena Harrer.

Professor Tom Ottervanger and Associate Professor Armin Cuyvers are responsible for the centre and the current project. 
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