Tuesday, September 2, 2008



September 2, 2008
The Standard
By John Oyuke

East Africa Community (EAC) member states have agreed to address reservations by some members over a common market in the region.

While opening an EAC meeting In Nairobi on August 23, EAC Permanent Secretary David Nalo attributed the delay in the formation of a regional common market to deep-rooted suspicions and fear of losing control of markets by some member states. He said some were apprehensive that the proposal would distort their markets, as regional powerhouses were likely to dominate trade.

"There is fear of losing out as far as balance of trade is concerned, but we are optimistic of reaching a consensus," he said.

Early this year, Tanzania failed to attend a crucial EAC meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, a move interpreted by other states as lack of commitment to negotiating and implementing the common market protocol. Tanzania has, however, maintained it is committed to the implementation of a common market but has raised a number of issues on the deal.

Kigali talks

The Kigali negotiations held in April were meant to clear the way for the free movement of persons, labour, goods, services and capital within the region by end of 2010.

Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi agreed on the new measures to allay Tanzania’s fears over of the common market during a High Level Task Force, which concluded second round of the negotiations in Nairobi on August 23.

The meeting reviewed Tanzania’s position on the Kigali Agreement, which, among other, things addressed free movement of goods, people and labour.

The EAC Secretariat said work was ongoing towards a protocol that would establish a development fund