The East African Community faces imminent collapse due to lack of political will and emerging non-trade barriers.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Secretary General Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi says EAC member states are increasingly adopting protectionism strategies which are strangling regional integration.
Africa’s most integrated region is at a crossroad.
Since it was revived 18 years ago, the bloc which is touted as model of regional integration is facing serious headwinds.
Two of the region’s biggest economies Kenya and Tanzania are currently locked in a serious trade and diplomatic tiff with Tanzania blocking Kenyan business people and goods from accessing her market.
Uganda has also faced the wrath of Tanzania with Dar slapping Ugandan sugar with higher tariffs.
On the other hand Uganda has retaliated by imposing heavy tariffs on rice from Tanzania in what mirrors the American Chinese trade brit-bats.
UNCTAD Secretary General Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi says if not checked these barriers are likely to kill the EAC integration dream.
Dr. Kituyi says regional leaders should develop a political solution to address these issues.
Two other members Burundi and South Sudan are in a serious political crisis that threatens the stability of the bloc
The world’s two largest economies that is the US and China are currently locked in a bitter trade tariff war, while the European Union is in a limbo due to the looming Brexit.
However, Dr. Kituyi cites the launch of the African continent free trade area as a big stride in deepening trade and integration in Africa.