East Africa is “globalising” rapidly with the value of its total trade with the world doubling from $17.5 billion in 2005 to $37 billion in 2010, according to a new report.
The State of East Africa 2012 report - detailing the findings of a survey - was released last week in Nairobi, Kenya. The survey was conducted by the Society for International Development (SID) in conjunction with Trade Mark East Africa.
It shows intra-trade among the five member states of the East African Community (EAC) doubled over the five-year period, from $2.2 billion in 2005 to $4.1bn in 2010.
The report was officially launched by the EAC Secretary-General, Dr Richard Sezibera, who said it showed that the world was paying close attention to East Africa and "engaging it with increasing intensity."
SID is a global network of individuals and institutions concerned with development.
According to the report, the region’s population grew by 24 million between 2005 and 2010 to 133 million and is estimated to reach 237 million by 2030.
With an increased population and higher population density, the report predicts, the pressures on the region’s natural resources will intensify.
However, although the region's integration is on track, the new findings indicate that poverty is still a chronic challenge in the region.
Juma V. Mwapachu, the President of SID International, said the report would provide information to all partners on current state of the EAC.
“Regional integration is a complicated but evolving process that starts and ends with the citizenry…one of the major goals of the report is to provide policy-makers, civil society and the private sector with information and analysis that they can use to advocate their concerns and interests with respect to regional integration,” said Mwapachu, who is a former Secretary-General of the EAC.
East Africans are now more wired than ever before with the majority connecting to the Internet through their mobile phones, the report indicates.
The report said Tanzania continued to maintain the highest form of bureaucratic bottlenecks to the movement of goods and services in the EAC, while Kenya, Uganda and Burundi follow in that order in imposing administrative and technical requirements that obstruct trade.