Regional economic communities: building or stumbling blocks to the African economic unity? a case of the EAC

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University of Dar es Salaam
There is a manifest movement towards unity among African states beginning as early as the pre-colonial times and persevering until today. Throughout this time the integration field in Africa has thrown up a series f plans that seek the establishment of integration and counter plans that aspire for the nationalization and harmonization of faltering regional integration efforts into more holistic and coherent efforts. The Abuja Treaty on the establishment of the EAC is one of such plans. Unique in its intent to use the existing regional schemes as take- off structures towards continental unity, the Abuja Treaty places critical faith in RECs a appropriate building blocks. It is this faith that this dissertation sought to test, to ascertain whether it is well founded, realistic and or conceptually consistent with the reality of RECs such as the EAC on the ground. In evaluating the assumptions, a comparative study was undertaken between the EAC and the AEC. Data was collected by qualitative methods. In-depth interviews and unstructured questionnaires were employed and an in-depth library survey was also undertaken. The study found that though the aspirations articulated in Abuja are appreciated the vitality of the treaty has again been overshadowed by the enormity of RECs. Their attendant shortcomings have rendered them impediments rather than assets to the build up of the envisioned Africans Economic Community. Recommendation for the harmonization of integration efforts in the continent as well as the unilateral adoption of a single continental plan or policies for integration are herein made. A call for states to abstain from belonging to more than one reginal economic grouping and to contribute more towards integration is also made. Expansion of the scope through which integration is viewed is also emphasized i.e from regional to continental with the aim of ensuring that the African regional integration scene has a common vision and a common strategic plan for attaining this vision.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark ( THS EAF DT365.63.K57)
East African Community,, Economic integration, African economic community
Kitonga, M. E (2006) Regional economic communities: building or stumbling blocks to the African economic unity? a case of the EAC, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam