Thursday, September 23, 2010

On the Common Market Of the EAC

For any outsider to the East African Community (EAC), the fast rate in which the Common Market Protocol has been effected would seem incredible at first. A key prop to this assumption is that for an economic bloc to cross the barriers of the Customs Union, which is usually the precursor to a single market that embraces all states, within a record time, would require inexorable joint stamina.

The European Union, whose economic integration took several decades to implement is a measure of how long the process can take to implement. This is exactly what the five states that currently make up the EAC (Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda) are set to achieve beginning the first of July 2010.

One can attribute these positive steps to the mutual cooperation between the five border states of East Africa. Unlike Europe, which is a heterogeneous society with disparate geographical barriers like the sea, and different political structures, the East African countries share common values like heritage and have a similar political system derived from the British. However, in order to realize a Single Market in this region, there are several milestones, the EAC  needs to cover by the by. These challenges include the ratification of the four freedoms and the show of political will to give security of tenure to already existing freedoms among the states. This will pave way for the formation of a common currency.

 These cross border freedoms that need ratification and implementation include convenient and cheap air transport, making the securities markets regional, enforcing free broadcasting rights across the region, customizing educational requirements, and modernizing travel and work documents.

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