East Africa, the Great?

July 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Flags of East African States

Flags of East African States

East Africa, The Great?

Have you ever wondered what the future holds for the East African Corporation? Current trends would have us dream that a Super State is in the offing; the Great Federation of East Africa (FEA), or is it the East African Federation (EAF)? Hmm… Whatever the name, if realized, it would mark the beginning of a new Era in the region and in the long run, perhaps even a ‘super’ state.

With its current membership, the would be Federation would unite 5 countries; Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania & Uganda and with that Union, create a Country sprawling 1,817 Sq KM and bring together 132 million East Africans with a purchasing power of $73 B. This would make the EAF the 4th Largest Country in Africa and the 2nd most populated.

We also have Congo, DRC which has an observer status in the Community. If admitted, it would add a 2,344 Sq KM land mass, inject 68 million residents and a piddling $ 11.6 B purchasing power. Thus, Making the EAF the largest, most populated Nation in Africa and 4th in size at the worlds stage.

Taking a sober look, one would  see that these are not numbers that would warrant excessive excitement. They do not fair well in comparison with some of Sub-Saharan Africa’s giants like S. Africa with 49 million people that realizes a GDP of $276 B or Nigeria’s 150 million who have managed a $207 B purchasing power. To be impressive, EAC needs to ‘show me the Money!!!’

The union would nonetheless, thrust East Africa into a grand stage as a regional power for a myriad of reasons.

Chief among those reasons would be the market that it would open up to investors, both local and international. They would have access to 5 countries for the price of one - Yaani, a company seeking to  penetrate the market would only need to be registered in one of the five countries, NICE!

For local companies, the deal would make expansion even more attractive – whereby, a company based in Kampala would find it almost as convenient to open a branch in Mombasa, Kenya as it would opening it in Jinja, Uganda. It is therefore easy to see that this would spur great competition in the region, with the the benefactors being the consumers and the Tax collectors – and with that, economic growth and hopefully shrink the number of our dollar-a-day residents.

There would also be an increase in trade, and in particular regional trade which in recent months has already started reaping the benefits of the EAC’s move to remove all border tariffs in the Bloc. The tariffs have vanished and revenue collection is in the process of being normalized within the community. The EAC has also in it’s sights for 2012 a fully integrated common market, complete with a single currency and stock market that are expected to elevate the EA Stock exchange to be among the most traded on the continent.

Kaunda, Nyerere, Kenyatta & Obote

There are also other benefits of this corporation, such us a unified foreign policy and even cost cutting by having only one High Commission per country, instead of Five. As a Block, we could certainly wield more bargaining power at the UN and other Bodies. There would also be the advantages that come with an integrated Defense program, as the armed forces merge to form one formidable Army. Over time, we would not be vulnerable to threats by nations such as Egypt, who have in the past postured in a manner suggesting the use of force, should the EAC countries dare utilize the Nile Basin waters for development. Dialog would be the only acceptable way to deal with the Block.

This is why today’s official launch of the Common Market Protocol is much cause for celebration. I congratulate our leaders for moving us closer to this dream.

Btw~ Way to go Kenyan Parliament for pissing all over our EAC Parade, your hefty pay increase is yet another reason why we optimistically await a People’s Parliament in Arusha. I wonder if it’s possible to register a briefcase Political Party in the mean time, perhaps East African National Union, EANU Juu!

About King'ori
Sillicon Valley Techie / Community Organizer / Activist. I dream of a day when the East African Federation shall become a reality!

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