A treaty between East African nations Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda went into effect in January creating a trade bloc that over the next few years will create a free trade zone.
A similar East African free-trade zone was set up in 1967, but collapsed in 1977 as wars devastated the region.
Under the terms of the agreement creating the East Africa Community Customs Union, Kenya, which has a more industrialized economy than Tanzania and Uganda, will pay duties on goods it exports to the other two until 2010, when such duties will disappear.
The three countries will also set identical tariffs for imports from outside the three countries.
East Africa trade accord launched. The BBC, January 1, 2005.