Briefing Paper

The Promise and Efficacy of the East African Community

This paper outlines the development promise of the EAC. The objective is to showcase–albeit briefly–the EAC’s major achievements and build a case for making these developments well known and appreciated by East African citizens and peoples in order to build [a people-centred] demand side of regional integration. It argues that: Making the benefits of the EAC more widely and deeply appreciated by East African citizens and peoples builds more positive attitudes and perceptions
towards the EAC as more people realize the potential and evolving contribution of the Community for their future wellbeing. This has important implications for building the EAC’s legitimacy and side stepping the extant elitist approach to regional integration in East Africa. The paper summarises the background to the EAC, tracing the organisation’s historical roots from colonial attempts at integration. It then summarises the EAC’s socioeconomic development potential as well as its political promise. Though less attention is paid to outlining the achievements of the EAC since 1999–with the
conviction that most of these achievements are visible and obvious to any keen observer–emphasis on the future promise and potentials of the EAC is useful for galvanizing momentum toward making the EAC more efficacious in generating the region’s desired socioeconomic and politico-security development.