Let’s build one house! What Tanzanians think about the East African Community

Eight out of ten citizens (80%) think Tanzania should remain in the East African Community (EAC). In addition, nine out of ten (85%) approve (or strongly approve) of greater integration with Kenya and Uganda in particular. Six out of ten citizens also support increased integration with Rwanda (62%) and Burundi (59%).

These findings were released by Twaweza and the Society for International Development (SID) in a research brief titled Let’s build one house! What Tanzanians think about the East African Community. The brief is based on data from Sauti za Wananchi, Africa’s first nationally representative high-frequency mobile phone survey that interviews households across Mainland Tanzania. Data were collected in August 2014.

Aside from supporting integration, citizens broadly believe the impact of the East African Community will be positive. The strongest vote of confidence is economic, twice as many citizens think that the EAC will have positive impact (42%) as compared to negative (20%) on the economy of the country. Similarly more citizens think the EAC will have a positive rather than negative impact on security (37% against 20%), politics (35% versus 25%) and culture (33% versus 24%).

Although citizens appear to be largely in favour of the East African Community and greater integration in the region at a conceptual level, the most interesting findings emerged when they were asked about specific proposals. Their support is unequivocal. More than half of citizens approve of the following proposals

  • A single tourist visa for the region (82% approve)
  • Ability to travel across the region with a national identity card (82% approve)
  • Joint infrastructure projects (78% approve)
  • Free movement of labour (69% approve)
  • A common passport (67% approve)
  • Tax free trade (58% approve)
  • A single currency (55% approve)

The only proposals which received lukewarm support are the creation of a joint army (64% disapprove), freedom of land ownership (70% disapprove) and a unitary government with a single EAC parliament (71% disapprove).

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Authors: Angela Ambroz



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