While trade within the East African Community is stuck below 20 Percent, statistics show that EAC exports to the United States margins at nearly USD 5.3 Billion.
East African Countries export their locally manufactured goods to the US through the African Growth and Opportunity Act, simply known as AGOA.
AGOA is a legislation which was approved by the U.S. Congress in 2000, to improve economic relations between the United States and the Sub-Saharan Africa.
On the Other hand, the East African Community exports to European Union stands at USD 2.67 billion.
The EU is essentially the prototype onto which the EAC is modelled.
The East African Community comprises of Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, DR Congo and South Sudan.
“The EAC bloc now needs to boost its transactions under the regional and international trade agreements and opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area,” said the Chairperson of the East African Business Council, Angelina Ngalula.
Speaking in Arusha, Ms Ngalula adds that the ACFTA should complement existing business arrangements under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, Economic partnership agreement.
The EABC Chairperson points out that despite the opportunities, East Africans are yet to fully utilize these agreements as trade is still fractional due to low productive capacity, fragmentation and infrastructure challenges.
“With the AfCFTA, there are no boundaries of doing business in Africa, but the EAC bloc should be well-prepared to export competitive professional services and skills to the continent,” said Chairperson Angelina.
The Chairperson expounded that EABC will create a ‘Business-to-Business,’networking opportunities to boost bilateral trade ties and unlock Non-Tariff Barriers.
The Equity Bank on the other hand, has set up a USD. 7 Billion fund to support business growth and such initiatives.
The Chief Executive Officer of EABC John Bosco Kalisa, said the council with support from GIZ developed a Barometer on East African Trade in Services to gauge the growth of the service sector in the region.
Kalisa says the EAC region currently exports services worth USD 12.9 billion compared to USD 933.6 Million of its global imports as of 2019.
The Confederation of Trade and Industries (CTI) Northern Outreach, Anup Modha, in on view that once the full implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol is realized, then business will flourish.