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East African states form common market

By the CNN Wire Staff

Nairobi, Kenya (CNN) -- Five East African states entered into a common market this week, breaking down barriers to trade and employment throughout the region.

Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda now form the East African Common Market after Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki launched it on Wednesday. The common market will lead to the free movement of labor, capital, goods, and services and open up employment, he said.

"Together we are now five countries with a total area of 1.85 million square kilometers, a combined population of 126 million people, and a combined GDP of $75 billion," Kibaki said. "This is a great region with vast potential for business and social networking for our people."

The common market has its roots in 1991, when the then-leaders of Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda, decided to revive the East African Community.

Creating a common market was one of the goals after the community was established in 1999.