DURING the 17th Ordinary EAC Heads of State Summit held in Arusha, Tanzania resolved to bring on board Africa’s newest nation. South Sudan was recently admitted into the economic bloc bringing the membership to six states.
Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry treats this as very exciting and a very big trading opportunity not only for Uganda but Africa as a whole.
As you might be aware Uganda and Kenya have been engaging and doing business in South Sudan until a few years back when there erupted political instability.
South Sudan has been the largest single export market for Uganda’s products worthy trillions of shillings. Lots of Industries were established and some expanded to take care of the South Sudan market.
The new entrant joins Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi and it will be part of the regional integration projects that have been the subject of discussion among member countries.
Now that there is an economic bloc in existence, there numerous advantages that include.
The population estimated to be slightly above 165 million people – where the EAC a single country it would be ranked ahead of Russia abut below Bangladesh as the ninth most populous nation in the world, will provide market (for consumption) then skilled and unskilled labour force.
Whereas this population is still quite poor with greater regional economic growth demand will increase in the region, which market can be leveraged by local and foreign investors.
Since the Community is the regional intergovernmental organization, it is strongly working towards a united, coherent market place, that will enable one to do business in a single market.
Equity firms are flooding into the East African Community market place is the potential to diversify their operations within this common market and mitigate risk. 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 such as conflict, terrorism, or natural disaster it also means that you can mitigate the risk by operating in the other member states without changing an entire market.
Also following the launch of the East Africa Exchange (EAX) in Kigali, the regional commodity exchange will connect buyers and sellers throughout East Africa and create easier access to intra-African and global markets. This is a transparent electronic trading platform that facilitates a regional commodity exchange.
The accepting of the South Sudan too may help put a stop to the chaos in our northern neighbour. Improved economic relations will and the growth of the middle class there as a result will make civil war a less attractive option.
South Sudan’s entrance into the EAC is welcomed and we look forward to greater and greater ties between our respective business communities.