Knowledge and competence are important to tap the potential of the East African and wider African market regional business lobby group has said.
The East African Business Council (EABC) and the EAC Secretariat With support from German Development Cooperation under “Creating Perspectives: Business for Development, East Africa” EABC improved skills of managers engaged in the manufacturing sector from the six East African Partner States on Export Preparedness and Management.
Working with selected 74 growth-oriented small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in East Africa the pilot project aims to improve their economic perspectives by increasing productivity, competitiveness, and innovation.
Speaking at the award ceremony today, Hon. Peter Mathuki said that SMEs are the backbone of the economy not only in East Africa but also in Germany where 80 per cent of employment is attached to SMEs.
EABC is establishing a desk to help with cross border trade challenges
“EABC has repositioned to respond to the needs of SMEs in the region by establishing a fully-fledged desk to help members with cross border trade challenges and provide advisory for business development” Mr Mathuki said.
Support to start-ups and SMEs is crucial for the creation of employment and income generation for the steadily growing population in the EAC Partner States.
The Chief Guest at the award ceremony, Hon. Kennedy Musyoka, Member of East African Legislative Assembly commended the SMEs for exploring the opportunities of the wider EAC market and employing the youth in the region.
“As legislators, we would like more business to grow and expand across EAC borders and provide more employment,” said Kennedy Musyoka.
Among the challenges faced by SMEs while doing business in the region including access to finance and not adhering to provisions of the EAC Customs and Common Market Protocol .lack of knowledge on export, product standards among others. The EABC as the voice of the private sector in the region provides policy support through advocating for a conducive business environment, for instance, fair customs and tax systems, elimination of Non-Tariff barriers and harmonization of standards.
About the East African Business Council (EABC) – The East African Business Council (EABC) is the regional apex body of private sector associations and corporates in East Africa with a single purpose of driving the East African Community (EAC) integration process through trade and investment. To achieve this EABC works with the public sector, EAC institutions, the academia and the business community to unlock the economic potential through increased access to markets, enhanced trade environment and improved business competitiveness.