A research conducted by Gallup Surveys has revealed that 95 percent of Rwandans who know something about East African Community (EAC) believe that the country will gain from the bloc. 93% Burundians and 88% of Ugandans also believe that their countries stand to gain. Kenya and Tanzania trail with 65% and 58% respectively.
When contacted, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of EAC Affairs, Robert Ssali, attributed Rwanda’s massive rating to the government’s political will and strong public awareness campaigns.
“Wherever we go, no one opposes, instead, people are just keen and want more information,” he said.
The establishment of a Common Market, set for July 1, is expected to provide free movement of services, capital, and labour and potentially increase intra-regional trade in the bloc that boasts a population of about 130 million and a $73 billion GDP, according to 2009 statistics.
Faustin Mbundu Kananura, the chairman of the East African Business Council (EABC), also acknowledged the impact of the awareness campaign by the Ministry of EAC Affairs and the Private Sector Federation.
“Rwandan business people think they will now get access to a market that is much bigger – a market which was, in the past, closed to them,” Mbundu explained.
The Washington-based Gallup provides a variety of management statistical research services worldwide and, its latest survey results are based on face-to-face interviews with 1,000 adults from each EAC country.