91,000,000 MORE CUSTOMERS FOR YOUR BUSINESS

I went home on Friday a very happy man. Later that evening, amidst the banter and chatter of my drunken friends, I offered a toast to the East African Community. With disoriented looks on their faces, they lifted their glasses hesitantly and toasted back. Then one of them decided to order a bottle of water for me.

“I think he has had too much already” I had someone shout across the table.

He wasn’t totally wrong on that point. What they didn’t realize however was that mine was a valid toast to one of the best things that have happened to us in recent times. As you might well know, from as way back as 1917, member states, with Kenya at the forefront, have been achieving one milestone after another in an odyssey towards regional integration. From the Customs union, to the East African High Commission, to the East African Common Services Organization, and the eventual formation of the Permanent Tripartite Commission for East African Co-operation in 1996. This was later ratified by the famous Treaty of 1999 into the East African Community.

A great highlight however for the Services industry must have been the signing of the East African Common Market Protocol towards the end of last year. This protocol ushers in the free movement of persons, labour, services, goods and rights of residence in the region. Kenya had already opened up most of its doors to the other EAC member states but the gesture was yet to be reciprocated, leading to lots of grumbling from Kenyan players. Beginning this July however, this going to change. The Protocol comes into effect on 1st of July 2010, opening up doors for the Transport, Communication, Educational and Business Support service sectors to expand operations across the 5 states, without previous limiting restrictions. Hence my toast last Friday!

What does this mean for you the Interpreneur?

The EAC is about to become one big market, with a more established Customs Union. It will no longer be necessary for you to set up branch offices in every country you intend to operate in. Previous rigorous registration processes for companies seeking to expand into a new East African country, coupled with hostility from competitors in host markets will hopefully be a thing of the past. The East African region will now be sold to the rest of the world as one single entity, giving us more leverage in the face of international competition. All five countries will now have a mutual recognition of academic and professional qualifications, not to mention the free movement of workers across the region and the right of residence.

Put simply, you are no longer just a Kenyan, you are an East African, by right, and so is your business.

Challenges?

The rest of the world is watching, which means that customer hungry foreign investors with deep pockets will be pouring more money into the region in a bid to capture this huge market base. SMEs will have to fight harder for a share of the East African cake. Competition will be more cut throat and he who does not have the business balls to fight it out will end up in the doldrums.

Challenge or no challenge, I welcome this move and hope that start ups now have 5 more reasons to keep up the interpreneuship spirit.

So here’s a Monday morning toast to the East African Community!

I went home on Friday a very happy man. Later that evening, amidst the banter and chatter of my drunken friends, I offered a toast to the East African Community. With disoriented looks on their faces, they lifted their glasses hesitantly and toasted back. Then one of them decided to order a bottle of water for me.

“I think he has had too much already” I had someone shout across the table.

He wasn’t totally wrong on that point. What they didn’t realize however was that mine was a valid toast to one of the best things that have happened to us in recent times. As you might well know, from as way back as 1917, member states, with Kenya at the forefront, have been achieving one milestone after another in an odyssey towards regional integration. From the Customs union, to the East African High Commission, to the East African Common Services Organization, and the eventual formation of the Permanent Tripartite Commission for East African Co-operation in 1996. This was later ratified by the famous Treaty of 1999 into the East African Community.

A great highlight however for the Services industry must have been the signing of the East African Common Market Protocol towards the end of last year. This protocol ushers in the free movement of persons, labour, services, goods and rights of residence in the region. Kenya had already opened up most of its doors to the other EAC member states but the gesture was yet to be reciprocated, leading to lots of grumbling from Kenyan players. Beginning this July however, this going to change. The Protocol comes into effect on 1st of July 2010, opening up doors for the Transport, Communication, Educational and Business Support service sectors to expand operations across the 5 states, without previous limiting restrictions. Hence my toast last Friday!

What does this mean for you the Interpreneur?

The EAC is about to become one big market. It will no longer be necessary for you to set up branch offices in every country you intend to operate in. Previous rigorous registration processes for companies seeking to expand into a new East African country, coupled with hostility from competitors in host markets will hopefully be a thing of the past. The East African region will now be sold to the rest of the world as one single entity, giving us more leverage in the face of international competition. All five countries will now have a mutual recognition of academic and professional qualifications, not to mention the free movement of workers across the region and the right of residence.

Put simply, you are no longer just a Kenyan, you are an East African, by right.

Challenges?

The rest of the world is watching, which means that customer hungry foreign investors with deep pockets will be pouring more money into the region in a bid to capture this huge market base. SMEs will have to fight harder for a share of the East African cake. Competition will be more cut throat and he who does not have the business balls to fight it out will end up in the doldrums.

Challenge or no challenge, I welcome this move and hope that start ups now have 5 more reasons to keep up the interpreneuship spirit.

So here’s a Monday morning toast to the East African Community!

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7 Responses to “91,000,000 MORE CUSTOMERS FOR YOUR BUSINESS”


  1. 1 NonieM June 28, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Thumbs up! Very insightful!

  2. 3 Kanyoko July 1, 2010 at 6:02 am

    So with my company based in Kenya but operating in Uganda and Tanzania, to whom do i pay taxt and how. Would love some more insight into this. Also how do a registered company in Kenya operate in uganda? as a dept, branch?

  3. 5 Rita Mugo July 10, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    This is definitely a good thing in terms of raising the bar as far as standards, quality & innovation are concerned!!! With more investors entering the market, there is more choice in terms of products and services for the larger market … brand loyalty, monopolies will face their toughest challenge in the form of a client spoilt for choice!!! … and to that i raise my glass …


  1. 1 91000 MORE CUSTOMERS FOR YOUR BUSINESS « Intervangelist Kenya | Kenya today Trackback on July 11, 2010 at 1:02 am
  2. 2 Monday Moments Ep 11 – The Best 7 of 2010!! « Intervangelist East Africa Trackback on December 5, 2010 at 2:42 pm

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