East African Business Council (EABC) and the East African Community (EAC) have held talks on strengthening the region’s private sector.
The new EABC Executive Director/CEO Mr. John Bosco Kalisa on Tuesday July 6, 2021 paid a courtesy call on the EAC Secretary-General Dr. Peter Mathuki at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania where private sector development and resolution of trade barriers were noted as top priorities for the East African Community (EAC).
The move is set to increase Intra-EAC trade and promote the region as an investment destination.
Dr. Mathuki noted that the private sector is key to fast-tracking regional integration and reiterated his commitment to collaborating with EABC to strengthen private sector development in the region.
“Following my engagements with EAC Heads of State over the past two months, a strong private sector and public sector partnership is the engine in driving the Community to prosperity,” Dr. Mathuki said.
Dr. Mathuki reiterated his support for EABC by prioritizing issues articulated and advocated for, noting that under the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC, the integration process is private sector-driven and market-led.
“The adoption of a coordinated approach in handling Covid-19 and the free flow of goods and movement of persons across EAC borders are some of the issues I’m keen on improving,” he said.
Issues hampering trade
EABC CEO Mr. Kalisa called for re-energizing of the EAC – EABC Private Sector Technical Working Groups in a move set to create a platform to deliberate on sustainable solutions in addressing issues hampering trade.
“The private sector is a key player in job creation and development of the region and should thus take center stage in the regional integration agenda,” he said.
Mr. Kalisa called for the revival of EABC- EAC Roundtables at National Level and engagements of the region’s private sector with EAC Council of Ministers.
“Intra EAC trade is still below 20%. It’s only through collaborative efforts and working in harmony that we can propel the region to attract investment,” he said.
Mr. Kalisa further urged the SG to push for the finalization of the EAC Common External Tariff and harmonization of domestic taxes and standards in the region to boost trade.
“Adoption of a coordinated approach in handling Covid-19 and harmonization of Covid-19 charges should also be prioritized by the Secretariat, he added.
EABC and EAC committed to deepening partnership, to ensure double-digit growth in economic, investment and job creation growth in the region.
The East African Business Council (EABC) is the apex body of business associations of the Private Sector and Corporates from the 5 East African Countries.
It was established in 1997 to foster the interests of the Private Sector in the integration process of the East African Community. Originally comprising members from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, its membership was expanded after 2007 to include private sector from Burundi and Rwanda.
Currently, EABC has 54 Associations and 102 corporate Members. Amongst the associations are all the national Private Sector Apex Bodies; four manufacturers’ Associations; 5 Chambers of Commerce, 3 Employer Associations; 2 Women Associations, 2 Bankers Associations and the Confederation of Informal Sector Associations of East Africa.
Given that the Secretariat is based in Arusha, EABC’s structure includes National Focal Points (NFPs) – who are all currently the national private sector apex bodies.
EABC’s key stakeholders are primarily the EAC Secretariat, the Business Community as represented through Members and their affiliates, National Policy Makers, EAC organs and institutions and other key national and regional organizations working towards enhancing private sector participation in the EAC and global integration.