BEING home to over 150 million citizens, East African Community (EAC) is a vibrant regional intergovernmental organisation of 6 Partner States that is strongly working towards a united, coherent market place, which will enable a serious investor to do business in a single market with the possibility of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Ethiopia joining soon.
The home of currently the Republics of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania, and the Republic of Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania, whose combined Gross Domestic Product (EAC Statistics for 2016) was US$ 146 billion, the region poses great strategic and geopolitical significance and prospects for the renewed and reinvigorated EAC, which also forms another basis for a serious business investor to exploit now.
In the region, an investor would automatically enjoy a free cross border movement of people and goods, further made possible by trade, where your local accounts would not need third parties for currency exchange.
So when you are in Uganda for example, you don’t have to use a third party such as a Forex bureau or a commercial bank to first buy Kenyan currency or US dollars in order to pay an invoice in Kenya.
You can now make a direct money transfer across borders. The region is also working towards strengthening a single customs territory for Cargo that has to be moved between the ports.
Tanzania has launched an electronic cargo system around the region to significantly reduce the number of weighbridges and roadblocks with the entry of the Single Customs Territory. Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya are working on expanding the system, besides the current trucks driving between Kigali (Rwanda) to Mombasa (Kenya) to transport cargoes.
Amongst them Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda now have a single joint visa in a bid to boost tourism revenues and other business links, implying an investor in the tourism sector would be as mobile as possible in the region, but above all it will save travellers and some businesses time and hassle.
Besides that the region is steadily becoming an attractive investment option for both domestic and foreign investors banking on its modern Boeing flights.
The region also boasts of being home to Private equity investors with recent reports confirm that it has become their favourite investment destination.
Operating in the East African community allows you at the one hand to quickly grow your operations from one country into the next, but should one country be hit by unforeseen circumstances it also means that you can mitigate the risk by operating in the other member states without changing an entire market.
It has progressed even further to the official launch of the East Africa Exchange (EAX) in Kigali, Rwanda. This is a transparent electronic trading platform that will facilitate a regional commodity exchange for the first time.