Dr Mathuki told a panel at the Africa Investment Forum in Marrakech, Morocco, on November 9 that the bloc is looking to expand to the entire Horn of Africa.
Ethiopia had also expressed interest in joining it after Mogadishu.“The East African Community is one of the building blocks of the African Union and it’s fast-growing. We have DR Congo as the latest member, plus Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda. That is a market of around 300 million people. And this November, we are likely to admit Somalia into the Community. The coastline of the East African Community will stretch almost 500,000 kilometres. And we look forward to more expansion; we are looking at Ethiopia, which has shown interest in joining the Community. So, at the end of the day, we are looking at a market of close to 700 million people,” he said.
The panel comprising leaders of African economic blocs, EAC, Comesa, Southern African Development Community and Ecowas, was discussing the quest to integrate Africa.
Dr Mathuki said the EAC is people-centered and emphasized the role of the private sector in driving intra-regional trade and integration.
He said intra-EAC trade had grown two-fold in the past decade. This is from less than 10 percent to around 20 percent currently.
Dr Mathuki said he was pushing for investment in infrastructure projects. This is on the main corridors linking the Great Lakes with the ports of Dar and Mombasa to boost trade.
“The deal is, let us invest in infrastructure. We may be late, but better late than never,” he said.
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