Resolving the unresolved non-tariff barriers in the East African Community

January 2016 to April 2017

Since the establishment of the East African Community (EAC), comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, the region has seen a steady strengthening of economic and political ties among the community's partner states. The EAC Customs Union came into force in 2005, facilitating the establishment of a common external tariff and paving the way for the removal of all intra-regional tariffs by 2010.

Despite this, available trade statistics paint a mixed picture about the impact of the EAC on intra-regional trade. Although the establishment of the EAC coincided with an important expansion in intra-regional trade in absolute terms, overall intra-EAC exports did not grow as a share of the region's total exports. In addition, the persistence of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) still affects trade flows, and reduces the benefits to be gained from the regional integration process.

The aim of this project is to measure the magnitude of NTBs affecting trade facilitation and transport among the EAC partner states and assess the impact of their removal on regional trade and production. A key objective is to identify the effects of specific NTBs on income, employment and prices; this will help to assess the likely effect of the removal of NTBs on efforts to alleviate the high levels of poverty that currently affect countries in the region.