One of the goals of the East African Community (EAC) is to support the growth of regional value chains. This project will give an overview of the current state of its supply chain trade. It will then look at intra-EAC trade within four priority value chains for the EAC- Leather, Cotton, Iron and Steel and Wood and would conclude with a case study of Uganda’s integration into the EAC leather value chain. Before delving into a discussion of regional value chains the paper will take stock of the EAC’s integration into Global Value Chains (GVC).
Arguably, strong participation in RVCs can help position countries to take advantage of GVCs because of firm exposure to regional competition as well as the dividends accruing from knowledge spill overs. To examine the EAC’s engagement in GVCs, we will decompose the gross exports of EAC countries into foreign value add and domestic value add using data from UNCTAD’s Eora database.
The paper will also compare the progress of the EAC to other comparator Regional Economic Communities (RECs)- ECOWAS, COMESA, ASEAN and SADC with the goal of highlighting the experience of these other RECs to inform our recommendations on how the EAC can further push supply chain trade in the region.