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Submitted by Rachel Kasumba on
East African Community Integration: the 5 member countries that currently make up this community are Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. Based on Dr. Canuto's two classification of integration above, the community has been using a mix of both the de facto and de jure models. For decades now, the people of this region have been conducting business informally across borders, with Kenya exporting the most to her neighbors due to her more advanced economic development. With 3 out of these 5 countries landlocked, the 2 main ports of Mombasa (Kenya's) and Dar el Salaam (Tanzania's) continue to play a significant role as the main exit and entry points of the regional exports and imports. In this regard, this would fall under the de facto cooperation model experienced in South East Asia's Economic Integration. Ambitious entrepreneurs and similar minded professionals of every kind, have always found a way around to "following the money" and so are always instrumental in making sure that they look for the best deal for their goods and services, even before waiting for the regional governments' formal intervention. These loose connections have laid the ground work for a lot of personal and business networks that have gone a long way in educating the public about the different cultures and languages of doing business. That said, the regional leaders, policy makers, the public, and indeed the international community are happy to note that a de jure system has also been implemented to promote not only national but regional interests for the benefit of all. These formal structures are necessary to ensure political and economical stability, a smooth transition of the people of the region to stop viewing each other as competitors but rather as members of one regional trading bloc. A lot of work is still being finalized to ensure that these and other plans for the region succeed. If these two models are pursued well, they seem poised to provide the best of both worlds. Indeed, the future of the region looks so bright that there are plans to expand the community to include other neighboring countries, including the world's newest country, Southern Sudan, whose people already have economic and family ties in the region!