As Tanzania celebrated its 60 years of independence on 9th December 2021, the East African Community (EAC) has hailed the country for its extensive contribution towards deepening regional integration and increasing intra-EAC trade.
The EAC Secretary-General Peter Mathuki underscored Tanzania’s critical role in the region, as it serves as the host of the EAC Headquarters in Arusha.
“We hail the Republic of Tanzania for steering growth and development in the country and also fostering peace and security. It is this stability that has created a conducive operating environment for the EAC and its Organs, with their home in the United Republic of Tanzania,” said Dr. Mathuki.
He also stressed how Tanzania continues to benefit from the regional integration of the EAC, underlining how in 2020, Tanzania’s total trade with the EAC Partner States amounted to USD 1,136.9 million, higher than USD1,003.6 million in 2019.
Tanzania has been recording trade balance surpluses since 2016, reflecting Tanzania’s increase in exports to the other Partner States.
Most of the country’s exports to the region were destined to Kenya, followed by Rwanda and Uganda.
Its main exports to other Partner States include cereals particularly rice and maize; cattle, edible vegetables (mostly onions); residues and waste, paper and paper products, coffee, tea and spices.
On the import side, Tanzania’s significant imports were from Kenya and Uganda. Most of the imported goods were soap and soap products; pharmaceutical products, plastic items, sugar confectionery and electric equipment.
Tanzania’s President Hon. Samia Suluhu’s stance on improving bilateral relations has also seen an increase in the intra-EAC trade in the last 9 months she has been in office.
Dr. Mathuki also acknowledged the critical role played by Tanzania on peace and security in East Africa, adding that the country’s role had been crucial in the area of Conflict Prevention, Management, and Resolution.
“Tanzania has been the home of Burundian and other refugees for a long time. The peaceful conclusion of the 2020 election has led to the commencement of the peaceful return of Burundian refugees, a process that is still underway,” said the Secretary-General.
Dr. Mathuki also singled out Tanzania’s immense contribution to the Indian Ocean.
“Tanzania has the longest coastline in the EAC Region [and] has supported combating piracy and other maritime offenses that has ultimately led to the restoration of security in the Indian Ocean. Through her security interventions, large quantities of narcotics have been seized and destroyed and traffickers arrested and subjected to the legal system.”
The Secretary-General also pointed out Tanzania’s efforts in contributing to security on Lake Victoria in cooperation with the twin lacustrine states of Kenya and Uganda.
“Lake Victoria is a big shared economic asset for the region whose security is strategically important for the region. To ensure safety and security, Tanzania that has 56% of the lake, has in partnership with Kenya and Uganda continued to ensure safety and security in the lake for the interest of the people who depend on the lake for navigation and livelihood,” said Dr. Mathuki.
Tanzania is one of the three founding Partner States of the Community-together with Kenya and Uganda-signing the Treaty establishing the EAC on 30th November 1999, and which entered into force on 7th July 2000.
The EAC is currently made of six Partner States: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Tanzania is the largest country in the EAC and borders four of the EAC partner states: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda.
The EAC Vision 2050 envisaged that by that year per capita incomes will grow to USD 10,000 thereby moving the whole region into the upper middle-income category.
Tanzania already graduated to lower middle-income country status in July 2020.
Kenya reached that milestone in 2014, while the other Partner States are still classified by the World Bank (WB) as low income countries.