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News from the East Africa Community

The East African Community (EAC) issued its Regional Meeting Committee Report for 2023 recently. This shows that the direct costs of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) is estimated at $16,703,970, with the total trade impact being $94,918,000. The report also shows that trade has decreased by an average of 58%. Tanzania and Uganda have been cited as having the highest number of unresolved NTBs, with Tanzania having 4 unresolved issues, Uganda, 3, and Kenya and South Sudan having 1 each as at February 2024. The EAC Secretariat and Partner States have been directed to ensure that the EAC’s “Elimination of NTBs” Mobile App is operational by 30th April, 2024. The EAC Elimination of NTBs App was developed to ease the reporting, monitoring and elimination of NTBs in the Community. The App was finalised and piloted during the National Monitoring Committee (NMCs) meetings in March 2023. The EAC NTBs App allows the users to report the complaints in one of the 3 EAC official languages  (English, Swahili and French). The mobile app can be downloaded from the Apple Store, Google’s Play Store, and other Android devices.

The European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) says in a discussion paper dated October 2023  that SMEs are complaining that the East African Payment System (EAPS) is focusing on high-value transactions between commercial banks, and therefore locking them out. They say that the system, in its current format, is a deterrent to cross-border interoperability of digital payments.

Alastair Tempest

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