Regional integration, poverty and the East African Community: What do we know and what have we learnt?

Discussion paper examining the poverty impact of regional integration in the East African Community

Abstract

The East African Community (EAC) is often upheld as an example of a successful developing country regional economic integration process. It also receives considerable support from donors, all of whom have a clear mandate to focus on poverty reduction.

This paper considers the evidence on the poverty impact of regional integration in the EAC according to 3 S’s:

  1. the scope and depth of liberalization
  2. the structure of the economy in terms of production, consumption and trade
  3. the size of the constraints faced by the poor

There is limited evidence linking EAC integration and poverty, but data suggest rising trade, and declining monetary and multi-dimensional poverty over the period of EAC integration for Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. There is an absence of work linking regional integration, migration and foreign direct investment. Overall data is scarce with little formal research undertaken on the impact on poverty in the EAC.

The poor face high barriers to benefitting from regional integration, with limited consideration of the political economy underlying the relevant policies and their implementation.

2 policy briefs have also been published:

This research was supported by the Department for International Development’s Strengthening Reserch Systems for Poverty Reduction in East Africa programme

Citations

Gasiorek, M., Byiers, B., Rollo, J. CUTS International. 2016. Regional integration, poverty and the East African Community: What do we know and what have we learnt? (Discussion Paper 202). Maastricht: ECDPM

Regional integration, poverty and the East African Community: What do we know and what have we learnt? Discussion Paper

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