WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The East African Community (EAC) is poised to open a common market in July to widen and deepen cooperation among the five member countries. Gallup surveys last year show Rwandans (95%), Burundians (93%), and Ugandans (88%) who have heard of the EAC were more likely to see their countries as gaining from the EAC than either Kenyans (65%) or Tanzanians (58%).
The establishment of a common market in July is the economic union's latest endeavor; it is expected to provide freer movement of services, capital, and labor and potentially increase intra-regional trade. As with most economic unions, however, there are perceived winners and losers. Respondents in countries with lower GDPs -- including relatively new EAC members Rwanda and Burundi -- who said they had heard of the EAC were more likely to say their respective country is most likely going to gain from the union.
More generally, Gallup surveys reveal awareness of the EAC varies widely across the five member countries. Although the bloc celebrated its 10th anniversary last year, the percentages who have heard of it range from a low 49% in Burundi to a high of 68% in Rwanda. At least 3 in 10 have not heard of the EAC.
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Results are based on face-to-face interviews with 1,000 adults each in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. All respondents were aged 15 and older, and the surveys were conducted in Burundi in July and August, in Kenya in April, in Rwanda in August, in Tanzania in November, and in Uganda in May and June 2009. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error ranges from ±3.5 percentage points in Burundi to ±4.2 percentage points in Tanzania. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.