Regional Economic Integration

Regional openness can help developing countries progress faster in areas where they may not be ready for full multilateral liberalisation. If planned and implemented correctly, regional integration should offer countries within a region the ability to attain more trade, higher growth rates and investment, and most importantly increased incomes and poverty reduction. Key focus areas are reducing trade barriers and transport costs and integrating marketing within a region.

The East African Community (EAC) is the regional inter-governmental organization of the five Republics of Rwanda, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Kenya and Burundi. These five partner states have a population of around 125 million which provides a unique framework for regional co-operation and integration. This framework presents opportunities for addressing common challenges, such as improving economic policy, increasing market size and competitiveness, attracting foreign direct investment and pooling resources for investments of mutual benefit. By combining fragmented domestic markets, regional cooperation can spur economic growth and development by promoting intra-regional trade and economies of scale.

LDP has worked extensively on regional integration issues within East Africa. We have conducted a number of assignments for TradeMark East Africa, a multi-donor funded agency which provides support for increased regional trade and economic integration in East Africa. Examples of our work on regional integration include:
  • Providing strategic, governance and institutional capacity building inputs to TradeMark East Africa.
  • Designing national support programmes covering Ministries of EAC and other government agencies, such as Ministries of Trade, central banks and Ministries of Finance that have a critical role in regional integration and the launch of a Common Market in East Africa.
  • Developing programmes of support to civil society and private sector organisations for more effective engagement in regional integration.
  • Supporting the Ministry of East Africa Community (MINEAC) on the design of legal and regulatory aspects of a comprehensive national strategy for Rwanda's integration into EAC, including conducting a legislative audit of Rwanda's key obligations under EAC legal instruments.
  • Leading on the design of the newly created Burundi Revenue Authority, including drafting the enabling legislation, as a prerequisite of full accession by Burundi to the EAC customs union. A key element of the design was the need to integrate Burundian treaty obligations with respect to implementation of the Common External Tariff (CET) of the East African Community (EAC), and plans for the introduction of a Value Added Tax.
  • Providing implementation support to the Ministries of EAC in Kenya and Rwanda, including development of strategic plans, monitoring systems, communications strategy and training programmes.

2014. The Law & Development Partnership

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