19 February 2014

East Africa: EAC Investors Still Experience Snags

Arusha — INVESTORS from Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania who intend to form companies, start business and other enterprises across the border to any of the East African Community Member states, are still regarded as foreigners and treated as such.

The EAC Secretary General Dr Richard Sezibera pointed out that the intra-region trade continue to suffer many challenges including the fact that, member states remain suspicious of people from their immediate neighbours especially when it comes to matters of investments and trade.

He was speaking during the occasion to launch the 'East African Common Market Scorecard 2014' a report which traces the protocol's achievements and shortcoming since its July 2010 sailing while also tracking the EAC compliance in the movement of Capital, Services and Goods.

According to the report's summary, all partner states happen to be also members of other regional integration schemes, something which makes it difficult to construct a common market enabling a free circulation of goods within the region.

"All partner states except Burundi restrict the free movement of capital for prudential reasons without notification," stated Mr Alfred K'Ombundo the coordinator of the EAC Common Market Scorecard Delivery Team who added that some member countries have not yet committed to fully liberalize their services, trade.

The Executive Director for the East African Business Council Mr Andrew Luzze said there have not been enough progress as one of the major problems faced by businesses in East Africa has been the lack of compliance and enforcement mechanism regarding the implementation of agreed initiatives.

On her part, the head of Investment Climate for East and Southern Africa, Ms Catherine Masinde said over US $ 22.7 billion/- in inter-regional trade that should have been invested in East Africa was lost to other regional trading blocs such as SADC and COMESA between 2005 and 2012 because a number of measures agreed in the common market protocol are not observed by partner states.

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