While addressing the press on Monday, President Paul Kagame said that whether a member state has some internal issues to sort out or not, it can’t stop the progress of the East African Community (EAC) dream of attaining a single market.
The President’s remarks come days after critics suggested that Burundi’s political woos could interfere with the commencement of the July 1 EAC Common Market.
The president was right since all East African nations usher in a common market tomorrow and economists have argued that it’s full implementation would be a gradual process which is likely to take as long as five years.
This might not be the case if all concerned do not work together and do not move at the same pace. We have to remember that the protocol aims at allowing free movement of goods, people, labour, services and capital within the EAC member states.
Other member state could borrow a leaf from Rwanda which is a late entrant to the EAC, but has managed to be a pace setter with the introduction machine-readable IDs. The cards have been recognised by the EAC secretariat as one of the most efficient efforts to implement the Common Market Protocol.
Apart from Tanzania all other member states will adopt these machine-readable IDs which could facilitate the free movement of people, residence and labour in the near future.
All governments and all member states should embark on a massive campaign to ensure that the general public understand the protocol and what they stand to benefit from it.