Challenges and prospects of East African community regional integration process (2001-2009)
Regional integration had a long history in East Africa. The main focus of this study was to investigate the impact of challenges and prospects of East African Community Regional Integration Process (2001- 2009). The study too sought to establish the measures the five East African countries have undertaken in the four-stage regional integration process to address the 'above in EAC, suggest policy options for regional integration in East Africa and to examine the process of development of regional integration in East Africa. The study found out that the implementation of the four pillars of EAC integration process- the customs union, the common market protocol, the monetary union and the political federation will not guarantee quickly mutually beneficial cooperation. The East African countries are characterized by low income from agricultural production and heavy dependence of primary exports. In Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda, agriculture accounts for nearly 50 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product. Only Kenya has a relatively diversified economy and has exploited better the opportunities offered by the East African Market. In political development, the post colonial East Africa states are characterized by centralization of power, reluctant move towards democratization, political instability in Northern Uganda, Rwanda an Burundi. These factors affect the EAC regional integration process.The study recommends full support by all the stakeholders in the region to the EAC regional integration process to facilitate the achievement of political federation by 2015 and thus accord East Africans maximum benefit. As the partner states wade through the regional integration process, they should construct common regional public goods, adopt common regional approaches, recognize the role of core states in regional integration, adopt common foreign, infrastructural, and investment policies.