“The total Intra-EAC trade grew by 11.2 % to US $10.9 billion in 2022 from US $9.8 billion in 2021 while the EAC total trade increased by 13.4% to US $74.1 billion in 2022 from US 65.3billion in 2021”, the East African Community (EAC) Secretary General Peter Mathuki disclosed while delivering the annual State of the EAC this Wednesday, August 16, 2023, at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
The SG further stated that the percentage share of Intra-EAC trade to EAC total trade stood at 15 % in 2022, and 2023 has indicated a positive trend with 16% in January and 19% in February recorded of total EAC trade.
“The increase is attributed to a strong collaboration with Partner States to promote EAC trade including admission of DRC, timely resolution of Non-Tariff Barriers, enhanced trade facilitation initiatives, harmonization of 2,568 East African standards, promotion of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises through the Annual EAC MSMEs Trade Fair, sensitization and capacity building of relevant stakeholders, among other things,” he said.
However, the East African Community (EAC) Secretary General Peter Mathuki disclosed some key barriers that limit the development of the region.
Non-tariff Barriers and national protection impeding intra-EAC trade
According to EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki, the Non-tariff Barriers (NTBs) and protectionism at the national level have been identified as the key factors impeding the growth of intra-EAC trade.
The SG Mathuki said that 26 NTBs have been resolved out of the 33 that had been reported as of June 2023, adding that the region is still working continuously to eliminate the remaining NTBs.
“To facilitate free movement of goods, Partner States have effectively eliminated Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) as they arise and have cumulatively eliminated a significant number of 184 NTBs with only a few remaining outstanding,” said Mathuki.
On the Common Market Protocol, Mathuki revealed that 5 out of the 7 EAC Partner States commenced the issuance of the EA e-Passport to facilitate the free movement of persons across the region.
“To facilitate the free movement of services, the Community adopted and is implementing a Mechanism for Removal of Restrictions in trade in services with the aim of identifying and monitoring the removal of restrictions in service sectors,” said Dr. Mathuki.
In July 2022, EAC Heads of State convened in Arusha and discussed the progress made in implementing the Common Market Protocol and identified areas that need to be prioritized to ensure that the Common Market is fully operational, namely the: One Network Area and an Open Skies policy.
Source : RegionWeek