Regional Co-operation

EAC to Conduct Study on Customs Union
The EAC Secretariat plans to conduct a new survey on the progress of the implementation of a customs union. The study, commencing in the third quarter of the year, will analyse how far each country has gone in enabling free flow of goods and services within the customs union. Member states are lobbying for a waiver in work permit fees by Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania.

According to EAC officials, Kenya and Rwanda have waived similar fees, creating an imbalance in the flow of labour. The work permit gives the employee the right of residence with members of his first family, unless the members are not East African citizens.

Sudan Reaps EAC Benefits
Africa’s new nation, South Sudan, has expressed a keen interest joining the EAC, but what does the new republic stand to gain by joining the regional organisation? During a visit to Kampala, the South Sudan President, Salva Kiir, reiterated his country’s commitment to join the EAC to reap the benefits of regional integration.

Firstly, landlocked South Sudan needs a gateway to the world after disintegrating from the northern Sudan. Secondly, a significant percentage of South Sudan’s trade is with East Africa (80 percent), while it clears a big chunk of its goods through the port of Mombasa, Kenya.

Kenya Seeking to Lock Sugar Imports
Kenya is seeking to lock out COMESA sugar imports beyond 2012, as it aims to protect millers who are still unprepared for a free market. The millers are protected from competition by COMESA safeguard initiated in 2007, which limited the amount of sugar that can be imported from member countries. But, the safeguard is due to expire in March 2012, opening up the local sugar industry to competition from COMESA imports.

Now, the government is seeking for the 10-percent duty charged on imports from the COMESA region to hold because poor planning, corruption and red tape have reduced local miller’s efficiency, making them feeble competitors in a free market.

SADC Customs Deal to Benefit Tanzania
Consumers of goods imported from South Africa will soon get the products at a reduced price since Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states are in final stages of their customs union that should see prices of South African products, including fashion and footwear, in Tanzania coming down. Available information indicates that experts from member states are now negotiating on the tariffs levels that would be charged against third parties, revenue sharing formula and the principle of variable geometry, since the countries are in varying stages of development