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East African Nations Agree to Common Market Trade DealWednesday, November 25, 2009 > 09:23:46
East African Nations Agree to Common Market Trade Deal
Leaders from five East African nations have signed a common market treaty. The presidents of Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi have agreed to the free movement of people and goods across the region.
It is hoped that the deal will lead to greater economic clout for the region. The common market is due to come into effect by July 2010.
The East African Community was launched 10 years ago and has a population of 120 million. The BBC's Will Ross in Nairobi said there had been fears that Kenya, as the economic heavyweight, would dominate. So until recently Kenya had still been subject to taxes as a way of helping the other countries' industries catch up.
Some analysts suggest that when the agreement becomes operational, Tanzania could be swamped by the better trained workers from neighbouring Kenya. Our correspondent says businesses in the region are frustrated with the amount of bureaucracy and are pushing for governments to do more to promote trade.
The signing of this common market agreement coincides with the tenth anniversary of the East Africa Community.