REGIONAL TRADE

EAC region hold talks on strengthening region's private sector

Private sector development and resolution of trade barriers remain top priorities

In Summary
  • The move is set to increase Intra-EAC trade and promote the region as an investment destination.
  • EABC and EAC have committed to deepening partnership, to ensure double-digit growth in economic, investment and job creation growth in the region.
EABC CEO John Kalis present issues to EAC SG Peter Mathuki
EABC CEO John Kalis present issues to EAC SG Peter Mathuki
Image: HANDOUT

Private sector development and resolution of trade barriers remain top priorities for the East African Community (EAC), the bloc's Secretary-General, Peter Mathuki has said.

The move is set to increase Intra-EAC trade and promote the region as an investment destination.

Mathuki said this while meeting with the new East African Business Council (EABC) Executive Director/CEO, John Kalisa at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

Receiving Kalisa and the EABC delegation, 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,” Mathuki said.

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.

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.

He also 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.

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 Community (EAC) economic bloc is projected to grow at 3.6 percent this year on account of ease in trade.