Second Comment

Second Comment

 

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“Enough is enough, the time for peace is now and to those who would challenge this for their own self-interests, we stand firm in the message that your time is now up, lay down your arms, as no longer will the misery you inflict be tolerated.”

Tanzania’s deployment in eastern DR Congo alongside South Africa gives the Intervention Brigade a distinctly SADC hue. In addition, Tanzania’s announcement last week that it intends to seek new political and economic alliances with Burundi and DR Congo can be seen as a potential re-alignment of Dodoma’s loyalties away from the EAC to SADC.

 

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This is a significant development for at least two major reasons. First it tears up the rulebook of regional alliances, which have hitherto been built around shared colonial history and geography (the EAC Treaty, for instance, requires member states to have “geographical proximity” and “inter-dependence”).

Secondly, it gives added momentum to the expansion and deepening of regional economic blocs. An alliance between Tanzania, Burundi and DR Congo would lead to a bloc of 124 million people. If this were to align itself with SADC (population 277 million; GDP $650 billion according to World Bank figures) it would create the largest economic bloc on the continent and an economy that would, on paper, be the twentieth biggest in the world.

The EAC is expected to admit South Sudan as early as late November when the heads of state summit takes place in Kampala, creating a bloc with a GDP of just over $100 billion with Tanzania and Burundi ($73.5 billion if the two were to leave).

 

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