Rwanda has decided to shake up the
East African Community (EAC). The EAC is a very loose regional association, the
kind of organization that serves as a platform for the pontificating types.
Rwanda wants to turn the EAC into an economic union. Rwanda wants the EAC to
end trade barriers. The first step would be to "harmonize" tariffs. but the
Rwandan government is really advocating free trade. Over time, free trade and
liberalized economies produce greater wealth for more people. East Africa is
poor. This is a "regional solution" rather than a "donor-driven solution" (ie,
aid). Rwanda has the right idea. However, tariffs do more than protect
political cronies - they also line the pockets of corrupt politicians and
bureaucrats. Rwanda has a fight on its hands.
August 15, 2007: Bad news from Burundi. After
resigning from a ceasefire monitoring team, key members of the Forces for
National Liberation (FLN) have reportedly returned to the jungle. The FLN is a
Hutu organization and one of its factions was the last to join the peace
process. The Burundi government is concerned that the FLN splinter group may
try to re-ignite the civil war. Up to this point the UN has regarded Burundi as
something of a limited peacekeeping success. The official UN force has been
withdrawn, though several international contingents remain in Burundi. South
Africa has the largest contingent, with around a thousand troops.