Recommendations for Expediting the Implementation of the Common Market Protocol in the East African Community


  • Dr. Caroline Ntara Monarch Business School Switzerland


Common Market Protocol, East African Community, Regional Integration, Trading blocs, Regional Economic Communities, Common Market, International Business, International Trade


The East African Community (EAC) marks one among many of the efforts of East African countries, including Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, South Sudan, Burundi and Rwanda to unite. As far back as the colonial era, these countries sought economic and social integration through the construction of the Kenya-Uganda railway in 1897. The East African Community ratified the Common Market Protocol (CMP) in 2010 with the goal of increasing intra-regional trade by allowing the free movement of factors of production, such as capital, people, goods, and services. The growth in trade through a common market would, in turn, promote the region’s integration. However, the EAC member states are yet to fully embrace the protocol despite the anticipated benefits. The process has dragged on for years due to numerous setbacks.

The research analysed the hindrances to the CMP’s full adoption through theories of international trade, regional integration and economic growth while highlighting achievements and solutions towards enhancing the CMP. The research interrogated international business paradigms and noted the dominance of firm level paradigms leaving the emerging interaction paradigm understudied. The research utilised triangulation including a literature review, content analysis, field research findings from questionnaires and the interviewing of selected individuals from the member state governments, regional trade bodies and private sector practitioners across the region. The research used a mixed methods research design with multiple regression for pre-study quantitative findings and interpretative phenomenology for qualitative findings.

The findings posit that the Customs Union, EAC passport and free movement of goods are the major achievements, while poor political leadership, divergent national laws and poor physical infrastructure are the major challenges. The research proposes trade liberalization, reconciliation, market-driven cooperation, the principle of subsidiarity and political cooperation as major solutions towards CMP implementation. The commonalities from the data triangulation brought out components that were added by linking the information to formulate the framework for enhancing the implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol. The framework is believed to be the first to illustrate how key stakeholders can work together to propel a regional integration initiative towards a seamless common market. The framework also adds to International Business theory in the understudied emerging interaction paradigm.

The implementation framework developed in this research can be useful in ensuring that the EAC achieves its CMP implementation goals. Other regional trading blocs can borrow lessons from the East African Community and use the framework as a guideline to resolve issues related to implementation in their common markets. At present, the newly formed African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) keen on implementing a free trade area across the African continent could also benefit from this framework.


Author Biography

Dr. Caroline Ntara, Monarch Business School Switzerland


Dr. Caroline Ntara

Email: [email protected]

Dr. Ntara holds the position of Professor of Management Studies at Monarch Business School Switzerland. She is an experienced lecturer and researcher with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. Dr. Ntara holds a Doctor of Philosophy and a Master of Philosophy in International Business from Monarch Business school, Switzerland, a Master of Business Administration in International Business from the University of Nairobi, and a Bachelor of Education degree in Economics and Business from Kenyatta University. She holds a certificate of Certified Public Accountancy from the Kenya Accountants and Secretaries National Examinations Board and is a TEFL/TESOL certified trainer. 

Dr Ntara is a strong research professional with in-depth knowledge in writing both academic and business research, analysis, and review of research outputs. Her areas of academic and research interests include:  international business, trade, regional integration, trading blocs, trade policy, economic growth and development. She is particularly passionate about research that has the potential to bring change to the African Continent.

Currently, Dr. Ntara is a peer reviewer and journal selection expert with Enago – Crimson Interactive and Adjunct faculty at UNICAF University teaching students from the University of South Wales (UK) and UNICAF Zambia. She has previously worked for the Knod Foundation, an American based institution teaching students from New Charter University (US) and HELP University in Malaysia where she worked as a facilitator of Project-Based learning and the flipped classroom approach. Dr. Ntara has also worked for the Kenya Institute of Management as an internship and research supervisor, moderated and participated in thesis defence committees. Dr. Ntara has taught and supervised Diploma, Bachelor and Masters students at the Kenya Methodist University for ten years. During this time, she held various roles including the MBA coordinator, distance learning departmental coordinator, examination officer and was involved and led several curriculum development committees.

Before joining academia, she worked at Barclays Bank Head Office in Nairobi, Kenya. During her career, Dr. Ntara has received many recognitions including exemplary peer reviewer, dependable team member, and a notable researcher. Over the years, Dr. Ntara has held memberships in organisations such as the European Centre for Research, Training and Development (UK), the International Academy of African Business and Development (IAABD) and the Kenya Institute of Management (KIM).

In addition to conducting and supervising research, Dr Ntara has received invitation and participated in conferences such as those organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Pan-African Strategic and Policy Research Group (PANAFSTRAG), Enago-Crimson Interactive, and the International Academy of African Business and Development (IAABD) as a guest speaker and panellist. Dr. Ntara is also a consultant and shares her research expertise with individuals and organizations keen on her areas of interest.

Link: Dr. Nata Faculty Page 







Dissertation Summaries