European union is the number one trading partner of the East African Community, EAC boss has said.
EAC Secretary General Amb Liberat Mfumukeko was speaking during the presentation of credentials by the Swedish Ambassador to Tanzania, H.E. Anders Sjöberg, at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
According to the Sec Gen, EAC was working on Trade and Investment Portals that would enable investors to access information on investment opportunities and projects online.
“I urge Sweden to support capacity building for the private sector and to link business people in Sweden and the EAC.” Amb Mfumukeko said.
EAC secretariat is also working on the development of the financial sector and integration of capital markets in the region.
The Secretary General informed the Swedish Ambassador that work on the Constitution of the proposed East African Political Confederation had started with EAC Partner States nominating constitutional experts to the EAC Secretariat.
He said that the EAC integration process was a progressive idea which was gradually trickling down to the populace as they begin to reap the benefits.
Sjöberg said that Sweden was directly supporting sexual reproductive health programmes in the EAC through the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) while there was indirect support for the region’s financial markets and customs sector through a World Customs Organization project.
“Sweden is keen support of free trade and export promotions worldwide since 50 per cent of the country’s GDP comes froms exports.” H.E Anders Sjöberg said.
“70 per cent of our exports are to the European Union and 30 per cent to the rest of the world,” said Amb. Sjöberg, adding that increasing trade with neighbouring countries, eliminating Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) and increasing the threshold for exports will be beneficial for all countries.
The envoy said his country’s current focus was on trade facilitation, reducing NTBs and e-commerce. Amb. Sjöberg noted that e-commerce had the potential to revolutionize trade in Africa as had been the case in Europe, North America and China.
He urged the EAC to create a conducive investment climate in the region in order to attract more investors.