Although there was barely any fanfare, a momentous occasion occurred on Thursday. The five East African states entered a common market opening up a region of 126 million people for free trade and movement of residents.
This historic moment will surely be remembered by our children’s children as the day that the East African region said goodbye to the colonial relics, which our borders are, and strode into the bright future. For too long our small states jealously guarded their borders from the ‘foreign horde’ but as of today, we welcome our neighbours into our home, and they do likewise.
Now Rwandan graduates won’t look at our relatively small job market as the ‘end all be all’ but will instead cast their eyes towards Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi.
‘Nyirangarama Industries’ must be able to expand and sell its ‘Agashya and Akabanga’ products in regional supermarkets and cheaper Kenyan products should make shopping here easier on the wallet.
Just the mere cultural exchanges will be worth it, even if we discount the economic benefits.