Tuesday, June 29, 2010

EAC Common Market Commences 1 July

On July 1, 2007, EAC members Rwanda and Burundi joined the East African Community as the fourth and fifth members respectively of what is now seen as one of the more successful regional economic communities.

Three years later in 2010, July 1 will play host to the establishment of a common market for the EAC.

Is there something about 1 July? Someone else might ask "is there something about the EAC".

There sure is! It is increasingly being seen as a to-watch-out-for REC.

What will become known as the EAC Common Market has been touted by the Secretary-General as a "milestone the symbolizes strong political will and firm commitment by all EAC stakeholders in deepening and widening integration" (http://allafrica.com/stories/201006290221.html)

This date will, in fact mark the "commencement of the operationalisation of the EAC Common Market..." maintained Ambassador Juma Mwapachu. He continues that:

"What we have achieved so far is only the basic legal framework that outlines what needs to be done and implemented for the Common Market to be meaningful and to have impact in transforming the lives of the East African Community citizens,"

A piece featured in VOA News goes a bit further.

First, it talks about how Thursday 1 July will see the commencement of the EAC Common Market, following a protocol that was signed in November 2009. It maintains:

The protocol is part of a vision that would see the nations eventually form a federated state, complete with a single currency and unified foreign policy.

Secondly, it touches on the detractors who believe that KENYA, given it is the de facto hegemon of the region (though few might be quick to admit it) might be the country to most benefit from this EAC Common Market:

Critics of the union say that Kenya, the region's largest and most dynamic economy, is likely to reap the majority of the benefits. In smaller countries, such as Rwanda and Burundi, there are fears that Kenya's larger businesses will push aside the local economy.

According to Shaw, these fears distort the larger picture.

"Kenya is a hub, it is the hub and it will benefit a lot," says Shaw. "At the same time, do not underestimate the potential of benefits for other countries. Kenya has a lot of human resources and skills. That can only benefit the region as a whole

The reality of the situation, however, is that only time will tell how this EAC Common Market will fare. At the end of the day, as the article maintains, "it likely will take some time before the borders are opened"

That TURKEY's ambassador to Kenya has already announced that his country would establish an Export Processing Zone within the EAC to maximise the potential of the region is surely the greatest indication ever that the East African Community might be up the right path on attracting potential FDI.

Now it's time to tighten the regulation to ensure that the private sector complements a people-centred EAC!

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