The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) has been sitting in Kigali since the begining of the month.
Opening the first session, President Paul Kagame noted that the region’s progress towards integration has not been “at a pace our citizens desire”.
One of our economic challenges lies in our inability to harness the market potential within our borders. Such efforts offer a gloomy picture yet the region needs to quickly seize its competitive advantage if it’s to free the majority of its citizens from biting poverty.
It is indeed appropriate for legislators to take steps in removing none tariff trade barriers, so as to improve the performance and competitiveness of the bloc.
The continent’s international trade seems to be rapidly shifting from traditional partners like the EU and the US to India and China, which are the world’s emerging and fastest-growing economies alongside Brazil.
The EAC would be in a better position to benefit from this development after it has reinvented itself into a single market.
The challenges holding back citizens from reaping the benefits of the bloc, like poor infrastructure, must be resolved.
Without fully implementing the customs protocols the EAC citizens will begin to question the essence of the otherwise well intentioned idea of regional integration.