The EAC and the AfCFTA

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation consisting of the six East African countries of Burundi, Congo-DRC, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania. Regional Economic blocs including the EAC are the building blocks of the AfCFTA.

The AfCFTA offers an opportunity for East African businesses to tap into under-exploited African export markets and source cheaper inputs and intermediates from African suppliers outside the EAC. At the same time, the Agreement will introduce greater competition for East African businesses which means that several complementary supply side reforms will be required to boost productivity.

All EAC Partner States have signed the AfCFTA Agreement and 6 out of 7 Partner States have deposited instruments of ratification. As at March 2022, the Region had agreed to adopt the proposed EAC Tariff Offer for Category A products for trade under the AfCFTA) agreement. Category A products cover 5,129 lines representing 90.2% of all lines that will see tariffs removed under AfCFTA within the next 10 years for the least developed countries, and five years for developing countries. As of May 2022, 87 % of the AfCFTA rules of origin provisions had been agreed upon.

Out of the eight sub-regional agreements recognized by the AU, only one – the East African Community – covers services. EAC is currently developing a regional AfCFTA Strategy to guide implementation of the continental trade agreement.