The East African Community (EAC) integration has reached a critical stage that requires the partner states to work closely to stump out any barriers to free movement of goods and services across their common borders.
When East African economies merged and opened their borders to create one of Africa’s largest trading blocs, they agreed to operate a single market for goods, services, labour and capital, among others.
The bloc has registered tremendous success. But the progress so far has also brought a long challenges. The launch of the Common Market has been a major leap but member states must ensure that the ordinary people of East Africa benefit from that protocol.
Member states should re-look into the operational schedules provided in the Common Market Protocol and strive to actualise them for the benefit of the people. There is a need to focus on the elimination of the Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) and to take all the necessary measures to build a truly integrated and solid East African market.
NTBs are hindering the integration process. These barriers are manifested in form of the roadblocks, weigh bridges, inspection requirements and cumbersome documentation procedures at customs points.
Barriers have led to an increase in the cost of doing business in the region.
With a market base of over 140 million people and expected to shoot up when South Sudan joins, the region is in a better position to exploit the opportunities in the member countries.