Regional economic groups are also known as common markets.

 A common market: is an area where goods, capital services and other factors of production are able to move freely.

Examples of common markets in E. Africa

EAC – East African Community

COMESA – Common Market for East and Southern Africa

IGAD – Inter-Government Authority on Development

SADC – Southern African Development Community. It is only Tanzania which is a member.

Reasons why countries need economic cooperation

  • To promote peace and unity
  • To promote friendship, and cooperation
  • To ease trade by creating a wider market
  • To allow free movement of people and goods
  • To promote transport and communication
  • To promote industrial growth

The East African Community


It started as the East African High Commission in 1948. The headquarters of East African high Commission were in Nairobi, Kenya

Departments run by eh EAHC include;

  • East African Railways and harbours
  • East African literature bureau
  • East African posts and telegrams
  • East African income tax department
  • Higher education
  • Research institution etc

In 1961, Tanganyika withdrew from the commission after becoming independent.

There East African high Commission therefore collapsed.

Later in the same year (1961).The three countries formed the East African Common service organization with its headquarters in Nairobi (Kenya)

It was in operation from 1961-1967. The heads of state formed yet another organization called the East African community. 

The East African Community ( 1967-1977)

  • In 1967, the heads of state for Uganda , Kenya and Tanzania met and decided to form the East African Community.
  • It was only a body set up to unite the three countries in common matters of interests such as trade, peace, transport and communication.
  • The headquarters were set up in Arusha in Tanzania.

Why the cooperation was possible

  • The 3 countries being in he same region were close neighbours.
  • The 3 state s have the same history that at one time they had been under the control of Britain.
  • The 3 countries had gained their independence from colonial rule.

Founder members of the EAC

  • Dr. Apollo Milton Obote – Uganda
  • Mzei Jomo Kenyatta – Kenya
  • Mwalimi Julius Nyerere – Tanzania

Objectives of the EAC

  • To create a wider market for goods from member states.
  • To promote peace, unity and cooperation
  • To equally share the services of former East African Common Services organization
  • To establish similar currency value by validating each country’s currency
  • To promote transport and communication
  • To establish similar tariffs, customs among the member states.

Organs of the EAC

  1. The secretariat (Arusha)
  2. It was responsible for daily running of the community
  3. It was headed by the secretary general
  4. The first and last secretary was the Biginvenkya from Uganda
  5. The East African Legislative Assembly (Arusha)

It had 36 members. Each country was represented by 9 members elected from the home parliament. It acted as a law making body.

  • The Authority

It was made up of the 3 heads of states ffrom member states

It was charged with general direction and control of the community affairs.

  • The East African court of appeal

It was the highest legal organ. It was responsible for hearing appeals from courts in 3 East African states.

  • The committee of minister

Each member state had 1 minister and a representative to this committee.

Services provided by the EAC

  • The East African development bank
  • Its aim was to provide financial and technical help to member states
  • To promote balanced industrial growth through loans.
  • Its headquarters were in Kampala.
  • East African posts and telecommunication. Its headquarters were in Kampala (function)
  • East African railways and harbours (Mombasa)
  • The East African examinations council
  • The East African school of librarianship (MUK)
  • East African harbours cooperation ( Dar-es-salaam)
  • East African literature bureau, metrological department and income tax (Nairobi)
  • Virus research institution (Entebbe)
  • Fresh water fisheries research (Jinja)
  • East African civil aviation authority (Soroti )
  • East African trypanasomiasis research (Muguga- Kenya)

Note: When the East African Community collapsed in 1977

All the above collapsed except;

  • East African Developmetn bank
  • East African school of librarianship
  • East African civil aviation authority

Benefits of the EAC to member states

  • It encouraged free movement of goods and people in the region
  • There was cooperation , peace nad unity
  • It started industrial projects through the EADB
  • It encouraged free trade among the member states
  • Projects set up provide jobs to people.

Why the EAC collapsed in 1977

  • Countries failed to contribute to the central treasury
  • Different political ideas among heads of state
  • Nationalizations of community assets in Kenya and Tanzania
  • Misunderstandings among the heads of state especially Amin and Nyerere
  • Counter accusation and insecurity which had to border closure
  • Harassment of Kenyans in Tanzania intensified hostility

Revival of the EAC

It was revived in 1994 by the heads of the three states of East Africa. The treaty to revive the cooperation was signed on 30th Nov 1990 in Arusha.

The following heads of states signed the tripartite treaty

I – Yoweri Kaguta Museveni – Uganda

ii- Daniel Arap Moi – Kenya

iii-Banjamin Mkapa – Tanzania

In 2001, the cooperation became the East African community. On 18th June 2007, the republic of Rwanda and Burundi signed the treaty to join the EAC

their representative were ;

Paul Kagame – Rwanda

Pierre Nkurunziza – Burundi

Organs of the revived EAC

  1. The summit

It consists of heads of states from member states. It gives the general direction to the development of the community.

The summit meets once a year to discuss annual progress reports.

  • The council of ministers

It designs policies of the community

It consists of the ministers responsible for regional cooperation from member states

It promotes monitors and keeps under constant review of the implementation of the community programmes.

  • The secretariat

It is the executive organ of the community. Its headquarters are in Arusha in Tanzania.

It is headed by the secretary general assisted by the three deputy secretary generals.

The current Secretary general is Ambassador Richard Sezibera

  • The East African legislative assembly

It’s the law making organ of the community

Each member states elects 9 members making a total of 45 elected members and 7 ex-official members.

The current speaker of EALA is Kt. Hon. Daniel Kideaga

  • The East African court of justice

It tries cases from the courts of the member states . its the highest judicial court among member states

  • The coordination committee
  • The Sectoral Committee
  • Autonomous institution e.g. EADB , East African school of librarianship

Note: The current chairman of EAC is Pierre Nkurunziza

The current secretary general is Richard Sezibera from Rwanda.

The current heads of states for EAC

Note: The smallest country in the EA parliament is Rwanda

Uganda’s representative in the EA parliament

  1. Hon. Nusura Tiperu
  2. Hon. Mukasa Mbidde
  3. Hon. Suzan Nakawuki
  4. Hon. Benard Mulegani
  5. Hon. Dan Kidega
  6. Hon. Nantongo Zziwa
  7. Hon. Mike Sebalu
  8. Hon. Dora Byamukama
  9. Hon. Chris Opoka Okumu

Benefits of he revived EAC to member states

  • It helps to create jobs for member states
  • It had helped to create  a large market for goods
  • It has helped to promote peace and unity in SA
  • It has introduced free movement of workers and goods

The current heads of states for EAC.

CountryCapital cityPresidentColonial master
UgandaKampalaY.K MuseveniBritain
KenyaNairobiUhuru KenyataBritain
TanzaniaDodomaJakaya KikweteGermany
RwandaKigaliPaul KagameGermany
BurundiBujumbiraPierre NkurunzizaGermany

Challenges of EAC

  • Production of similar goods leads to shortage of market
  • Shortage of funds among member states
  • Member states are at different levels of economic development
  • Language barrier
  • Different currency values there is still absence of a standard currency to be used by the community.
  • Different political ideologies

Major trading partners of he East African Community

  • Japan
  • China
  • The European Union member states
  • The United Arab Emirates
  • Saudi Arabia

Symbols of the East African Community

  • The East Africa Community flag
  • It has 6 colours i.e. blue, white, black, green, yellow and red.
  • The blue colour represents Lake Victoria

The coat of arms

  • It has olive branches which represent peace
  • The motto is “Watu moja moja hatimali” ( in English – .”On people one destiny”)

Note to teachers

  • Research on symbols of a nation for i.e. Uganda, Tanzania , Burundi, Rwanda and Kenya
  • Uganda – Tanzania, Burundi too for what each component stands for.
  • Other trading blocks involving the EA countries

NB:  Learners should draw diagrams for each symbol of the E.A.C.


  • Common market for Eastern and Sothernern Africa
  • COMESA was originally called Preferential Trade Area (PTA)
  • PTA was formed in 1981. It has members in Northern , Eastern and Southern Africa
  • COMESA is the largest economic grouping in Africa with over 20 members
  • Its headquarters are in Lusaka – Zambia
  • It has a COMESA bank in Burundi
  • The current chairman of OMESA is President Joseph Kabila from DRC.
  • The current secretary general Sindiso Ngwenya from Zimbabwe

Reasons why COMESA was formed

  • To promote trade by removing trade barriers e.g taxes
  • To promote peace, security and stability
  • To allow free movement of people and goods
  • To promote research in science and technology
  • To organize regular investments

Benefits of COMESA to member states

  • It creates a large market for goods from member states
  • It has helped to promote peace and security among member states
  • Member states get loan , travellers’ cheques through COMESA bank
  • It has promoted trade among member states.

Problems facing COMESA

  • Most member sates produce similar goods
  • Many African countries are poor therefore COMESA lacks funds
  • Smuggling of goods deprives government taxes
  • Political instabilities in some countries
  • Some countries fully depend on agriculture and unable to industrialise

Member states of COMESA

Sudan                        DRC

Uganda                      Egypt

Kenya                        Libya

Tanzania                   South Sudan

Eritrea                        Ethiopia

Malawi                       Zambia

Zimbabwe                 Somalia

Lesotho                      Swaziland

Why did Tanzania withdraw from COMESA?

  • It was costly since Tanzania is a  member of many other regional organsations.
  • Tanzania never wanted to  lose its taxes from non-land locked countries.

It is intergovernmental authority on development

Its headquarters are in Djibouti in Djibouti

Member states of IGAD

 Sudan                       Somalia

Uganda                      Ethiopia

Eritrea                        Kenya

Djibouti                      South Sudan

Why IGAD was formed

  • To solve the problem of food shortage and drought
  • To promote peace and unity
  • To improve transport and community in the region

Benefits of IGAD to member states

  • It has tried to promote peace and security
  • It has tried to control the effects of drought through modern agriculture

Challenges of IGAD

  • Political instabilities
  • Shortage of funds
  • Hunger and starvation


  • It is southern African Development Community
  • Its headquarters are in Gaborone Botswana. Only Tanzania in EA is a member