The East African Community offers a large market for trade in merchandise and services. With a population of about 186.9 million consumers alongside millions of others from inter-regional trade with other African blocs, the region’s demand for goods and services is quite high.
Also, the abundance of most precious natural resources ranging from minerals to oil to gas to fish to arable land to beautiful climate to tourist attractions to quality human capital to ease of access to finance, and the region’s strategic location in the world makes it the best destination for foreign investment. Most recently, the Region has improved infrastructure, such as roads, ports, airlines, electricity and telecommunication, and enjoys good governance of the Partner States, which enhances the conduciveness of the environment for local and foreign investors.
Article 74 of the Treaty provided for the development and adoption of an East African Trade Regime and co-operate in trade liberalisation and development by the Partner States.
The EAC Directorate of Trade was established in 2004 together with the Directorate of Customs. The main objective was to effectively coordinate the implementation of the EAC Customs Union Protocol.
Under the Directorate of Trade, the department of Internal Trade is mandated to oversee the Free Movement of Goods and Services within the EAC boundaries through the elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers, compilation and dissemination of Trade Statistics and promotion of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). In general, the Department promotes trade between and within the EAC Partner States.
With a mission to widen and deepen economic, political, social and cultural integration in order to improve the quality of life of the people of East Africa, the EAC encourages and promotes new and better ways of doing business. The EAC seeks to progressively transform into a single market that allows the free movement of goods, persons, services, labour and capital, while guaranteeing rights to residence and establishment.