The value of intra-trade among East African Community (EAC) states increased to $5.98 billion in 2018 from $5.46 billion in 2017, accounting for a 9.4 per cent growth.
According to the East African Community Trade and Investment Report (2018), all EAC member states except for Burundi recorded growth in trade with their regional counterparts.
Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan and Kenya’s combined exports to the East African Community and Southern African Development Community regions amounted to $3.1 billion and $1.9 billion in 2018 respectively showed a report prepared by the EAC Secretariat.
In 2015 and 2016, intra-EAC trade was in the negative zone. In 2018, Burundi’s total trade with other countries in the region fell by 11 per cent to $150.9 million from $162.6 million in 2017.
Kenya’s total trade with EAC partner countries rose to $1.95 billion in 2018 from $1.86 billion in 2017 an increase of 4.7 per cent. This is mainly due to increased trade to Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.
According to the report, Rwanda’s total trade with EAC increased to $638.8 million from $563.2 million in the same period an increase by 13.4 per cent.
As per the report, Tanzania’s total trade with other countries in the region increased by 14.6 per cent to $811.3 million from $707.7 million. While Uganda’s trade also improved by 21.2 per cent to $2.05 billion from $ 1.69 billion.
However, South Sudan’s trade deficit with the EAC region declined to $375 million from $444.6 million in the same period a decrease by 15.7 per cent.
The report notes that EAC’s exports to the European Union only increased by 6.5 per cent from $2.3 billion in 2017 to $2.5 billion constituting about 17.5 per cent of the total region’s exports.
However, due to falling demand EAC’s exports to the US and the rest of the world fell by 20.6 per cent and 12.7 per cent respectively during the year.
On the other hand, East African Community (EAC) total imports grew by 19.2 per cent to $38.3 billion from $32.2 billion, with imports from Europe amounting to $4.3 billion while intra-EAC imports grew by 13.9 per cent to $2.8 billion, accounting for 7.4 per cent of total EAC imports.
East Africa is imports goods mostly from China, the Far East and Europe with petroleum products, machinery, electronics, motors, iron and steel and foodstuff especially rice and wheat being its key Imports products.