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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

East African Community trade climbed to $5.5bn in last decade

Over the past eight years, intra‐regional trading within the East African Community (EAC) has grown from $2 billion in 2005 to $5.5 billion in 2013; this has been directly linked to the implementation of the Customs Union Protocol.

Dr Abdulla Saadala, acting Chair of the Council of Ministers, disclosed this last week while explaining that the implementation of the Single Customs Territory (SCT) had resulted in tremendous advantages and efficiencies especially with respect to the turnaround time of movement of cargo. It now takes four days to ship cargo from Mombasa to Kampala and six days from Mombasa to Kigali, before the implementation of the SCT, these figures stood at 18 and 21 respectively.

“The pilots being undertaken on the Central Corridor indicate that movement of cargo from Dar es Salaam can reach Kigali and Bujumbura in three to four days from over 18 days,” he further explained.

Other efficiencies realized have been in the reduction of documentation and transportation costs as goods are declared once and released from the first point of entry. Therefore, trucks that used to make a trip a month can now make four, leading to a quadrupling of revenues from such trips.

To further implement the Customs Union Protocol, the EAC has instituted the Standardization Quality Assurance Metrology and Testing Act, 2009, The EAC Competition Act, 2009 and The One Stop Border Posts Act, 2013 to legalize and push for more trading within the region.

Dr Saadala listed a number of challenges facing further regional integration and intra‐regional trading. Poor infrastructure remains a key bottleneck as goods have to move around on road and rail networks. More pressing, however, are the various restrictions imposed by member states.

“I cannot claim that the implementation of the Customs Union has not had challenges, the main challenges we have encountered include reoccurrence of non‐tariff barriers that increase the cost of doing business which mainly emanate from national legal and administrative measures of Partner States and limited awareness of stakeholders on the economic opportunities created by integration which impedes market exploitation and cross border trade,” he concluded.

Source: ventures-africa.com