By Bagarukayo Abdu

The East African Community (EAC) has made significant strides in recent years, emerging as a shining example of regional integration and economic growth in Africa. Comprising eight partner states – Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda – the EAC has a combined population of over 300 million people and a GDP of over $300 billion.

The EAC’s journey towards regional integration began in 1999, with the signing of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community. Since then, the organization has made significant progress in various areas, including trade, infrastructure development, and political unity.

One of the EAC’s notable achievements is the implementation of the Single Customs Territory (SCT), which has eliminated tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade among partner states. This has led to an increase in intra-regional trade, with the value of trade growing from $2.4 billion in 2014 to over $10 billion in 2020.

The EAC has also invested heavily in infrastructure development, with a focus on transportation, energy, and telecommunications. The construction of the Standard Gauge Railway, which connects Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda, is a notable example of the region’s infrastructure development efforts.

In addition to economic integration, the EAC has also made significant progress in political unity. The organization has established a political confederation, which aims to promote political cooperation and unity among partner states. The EAC has also established a common market for goods and services, which has led to increased economic activity and job creation.

Despite the progress made, the EAC still faces several challenges, including political instability in some partner states, infrastructure development gaps, and non-tariff barriers to trade. However, the organization remains committed to addressing these challenges and achieving its objectives.

In conclusion, the East African Community is a shining example of regional integration and economic growth in Africa. The organization’s commitment to trade, infrastructure development, and political unity has led to significant progress in recent years. As the EAC continues to grow and develop, it is likely to emerge as a major economic player in Africa and globally.

The writer is an NRM Cadre and Political Thinker

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