Regional integration in East Africa dates back more than a hundred years. This article provides a general synopsis of the East African Community (EAC) and traces the evolution of regional integration in Eastern Africa from colonial times to the present. The EAC, one of the most integrating Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in Africa, and the focus of this special issue, is currently made up of five independent countries: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania. The article describes the EAC's governance and institutional arrangements and outlines key integration achievements to date, notably the establishment of the Common Market, the promise to establish the monetary union by 2017, and the ultimate goal of achieving a political federation. Noting that as elsewhere in the world regional integration is hard and often protracted among sovereign states, the article discusses the EAC's challenges, opportunities, and drivers for deeper integration. It also provides a brief discussion of the region's natural resources, land, demography, and infrastructure. This provides the background for undertaking a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the EAC economies along the measures of governance, development capacity, economy, investment climate, and foreign direct investment inflows. Overall, the data paint a nuanced picture of impressive progress in the midst of daunting challenges. Looking forward, the article concludes that the prospects for deeper integration are promising, providing the EAC continues to build on its successes, confronts current and future challenges, and takes a holistic long-term approach to the effective management of deeper regional integration. We end by calling upon the international community to play a more strategic role, working with the EAC and member states for the effective and sustaining implementation of regional and continental integration.

Additional Metadata
Keywords East African Community (EAC), regional integration, history, achievements, governance, demography, infrastructure, investment climate, foreign direct investment, international partners
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1080/23322373.2015.1106719
Journal Africa Journal of Management
Citation
Ogola, Frederick Onyango, Njenga, George N., Mhando, Peter C., & Kiggundu, M. (2015). A Profile of the East African Community. Africa Journal of Management, 1(4), 333–364. doi:10.1080/23322373.2015.1106719