East African Federation: Tanzanian awareness of economic and political integration remains poor, but there is growing support for political links

East African Federation: Tanzanian awareness of economic and political integration remains poor, but there is growing support for political links

The current East African Community (EAC), which was formally launched in 2001 comprising Tanzania and other neighbouring countries, has achieved two primary stages of integration: a customs union and common market. However, knowledge of the Federation of East African (EAF) member states among Tanzanian citizens’ remains limited.

The current brief indicates that there has been a slight improvement in awareness since 2008; nevertheless, levels are still low, particularly in rural areas and mainly surrounding knowledge of specific aspects of EAF.

Identically, the paper reveals that there are a growing proportion of citizens since 2008 who disapprove of economic integration. Consequently, if citizens’ predominantly perceive the challenges of economic policy co-ordination rather than the benefits, it is likely that support of economic integration will diminish.

Conclusions include:

  • to reach the current EAC objective of increased civil society participation, substantial efforts are required, and public participation campaigns should be specifically directed to rural areas to meet this end
  • to ensure that approval of economic integration continues without question, it is essential to achieve comprehensive harmonisation and implementation of economic policy in member states
  • in terms of the EAF, with conscious efforts being made in neighbouring member states to resolve internal disputes, it is possible that Tanzanians do not view political integration with such states in fear