The East African Community (EAC) will modernise market places located at the borders of the five partner states, by providing the necessary infrastructure to make them more attractive.
Alloys Mutabingwa, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Planning and Infrastructure, said that the initiative will make the markets more profitable.
“Across the borders of EAC countries, local communities normally have designated market days in a week where people sell and buy goods, and these markets boom because they attract ordinary people from across borders; we therefore want to make them more popular and regular,” he said.
Mutabingwa added that they have started consultations to identify such markets. He noted that the bloc has the capacity to alleviate peoples’ poverty by ensuring that more benefits are accrued from the free movements of goods, services and people.
“It is important to make ordinary people realise the benefits of easing the border movements and also creating those marketplaces within the picture of Common Market protocol,” Mutabingwa said.
“There should be an arrangement to ease local movement where people on the border controls, like the immigrations or customs, become flexible to help people move across borders to attend these markets,” he added.
Among the border markets targeted are, Namanga on the border between Tanzania and Kenya, Kirundo in Burundi near the border with Rwanda across from Bugesera, and Busia on the Uganda-Kenya border.
“We have already negotiated with the development partners like DfID, Trade Mark East Africa and the World Bank group to support the new initiatives,” he noted.