East Africa: EAC’s Has Unrivaled Advantage Over Other States in the Free Trade Area


Arusha — Comesa and the South African Development Community (Sadc) blocs remain the leading trading partners for the East African Community (EAC).

Statistics indicate so even as the envisaged African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is set for launch in July.

EAC partner states’ exports to the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), made up of Sadc, Comesa and the Community itself, were worth $ 2.5billion between 2010 and 2016.

During the same period, EAC exports to the rest of Africa on average amounted to $ 312.4million, a report has indicated.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is leading the pack with a 29.7 per cent share of exports from the EAC.

It is closely followed by the continent’s economic power house, South Africa, with a 29.5 per cent of the shares, according to the East African Business Council (EABC).

Other leading trading partners for the Community were Egypt and Zambia (9.5 per cent each), Sudan (7.2 per cent) and the Comoros 3.8 per cent.

DR Congo also leads in imports to the EAC with a 39 per cent share followed by Somalia (28 per cent, Nigeria (11 per cent) and Morocco and Algeria 5 per cent and 3 per cent respectively.

The brief was released during last week’s meeting here to deliberate on the road map by EAC on the continental free trade pact.

TFTA is made up of EAC, Sadc and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and was initiated to become the continent’s single economic bloc.

It was intended to create an integrated market with a combined population of 600 million people and a total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of about US$1 trillion.

The deal was to come into force once ratification is attained by two thirds of the 26 member states by the three blocs.

AfCFTA, on the other hand, was formed last year with the signing of its initial agreement by 52 of the 55 African Union member states.

It is intended to bring together 55 AU states with a total population of 1.2 billion and combined GDP of $3.4 trillion.

“EAC has considerable market opportunity to grow its share export to the Tripartite market”, the report said.

When it comes into force, the 26 nation Tripartite will have preferential tariff regime for exports and imports trade.

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Publish date : 2019-04-29 08:35:31

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