Trade Within East African Region Surpasses $10 Billion Mark

Trade within the East African Community (EAC) is on an upward trajectory after the bloc registered an increase to 20% in the last part of 2022.

A January statement from the EAC secretariat in Arusha, Tanzania said imports and exports within the seven member states of the community had grown from US$9.5 billion in 2021 to US$10.17 billion as of September 2022.

“The intra-EAC trade, accounting for imports and exports in the seven EAC Partner States, grew from 13% in 2019 at a value of US$7.1 billion to 15 % in 2021 at a value of US$9.5 billion. By September 2022, the EAC trade value was recorded at US$10.17 billion representing a 20% share of Intra-trade to global trade,” the statement said.

Dr Peter Mathuki, the EAC Secretary General, attributed the growth in intra-regional trade to “political goodwill among the members of the Summit of EAC Heads of State and the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions in the region amongst other factors”. 

He said discussions had resulted into the elimination of many Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) hampering intra-regional trade with hope that trade would grow by 40% in the next five years.

“257 NTBs have been cumulatively resolved since 2007. This is in tandem with the bloc’s goal to increase the volumes of intra-regional trade,” he said.

The official also revealed that total trade between EAC and the rest of the world stood at US$62 billion, with room for improvement.

“From 1st July 2022, imports of locally available goods into the region; such as meat, furniture and textiles, have been attracting a tariff of 35 percent. The move aims at promoting local production, value addition and industrialization,” said Mathuki.

The seven members of the EAC are Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to Mathuki, the EAC had already sent a verification team to Somalia to assess the country’s readiness to join the community.  

The long Indian Ocean Red Sea route that links Africa to the Arabian Peninsula is viewed as a vibrant economic zone that will bring immense benefits to the EAC.

“The exploitation of Somalia’s blue economy resources such as fish and the expansive coastline is also set to boost the regional economy,” he said.

On peace and security, the Secretary-General said that EAC was highly targeting the stabilization of the Eastern DRC which has great trade potential.

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