Thank you Chairman, Your Excellencies,

If I may in the spirit of being brief let me say all protocols observed.

I had a very long speech but again in terms of being brief let me say a few words.

I would like to appreciate, first of all, the work done in the last few days in addressing some of the issues in particular Non-Tariff barriers.

My board who is up here from the East African Business Council we have had very intense deliberation around what is going to take to be successful in East Africa.

And I think if a really get into the heart of it, it is ensuring we think regional before we think national, that is very difficult in the heat of the moment, I know private sector influences trade policies selfishly.

As East African Business Council we want to bring an East African perspective we think it is shameful that 150 million people who wear shoes have to buy shoes in particularly used ones from other parts of the world.

We think it is shameful that some of the able  manufacturers of garments can sell to Mercy and Marks & Spencer  and other companies for 7 dollars per garment and three or four years  later we wear the same used garments and pay a similar price.

 In the meantime in Burundi Uganda Tanzania, Kenya we allow our cotton industries to degrade our ginneries to rust and our production to disappear and then we say  let's be manufacturers let be producers and simply we turn into traders.

As East African Business Council, we are paying a lot of attention to this drive to produce; we want to be producers of value; we don’t want to be traders.

There is a role for traders, there is a role for traders, but let’s manufacture!

On that particular note, it is also very important we have spent a lot of time with our ministers of foreign affairs in Kenya and many others in Tanzania and we are talking about the need of regional value chains.

If Kenya, for example, is going to manufacture or assemble, let me say German vehicles in Thika.

Why can we have tires from Tanzania, exhaust pipes from Uganda, dashboards from Burundi, so this becomes an East African car, not just a Kenyan car?

If Scania does that in Dar es Salaam let it be the same thing.

I promise you, legislators, these sticky things called Non-Tariff Barriers will drop when that truck made by which ever company reaches in Namanga border, the immigration and customs officials will say “hii ni yetu.”

Your Excellencies,

Our vision for the private sector is let the track rumble through Namanga  border without stopping we will use the technology we will ensure things are done properly.

It is a shame again that waste the resources that we have the intellectual property of our youth the industrial drive of our entrepreneurs by limiting them to national borders let us be free at last.

Local investors can get economies of scale additionally Foreign investors can see EA for what it is , 150 million people market.

We employ and urge as we as private sector get a seat at the table we have been observers for a long time proverbial stance and come into the field and help in the formulation of trade policies and we want to participate our heart is at the same place.

We are here to create jobs, create wealth, and uplift our people from poverty. Let us be free at last!

Your Excellencies,

 As stipulated under Article 7 of the EAC Treaty, our integration is people centered, market driven and private sector led thus ensuring sustainability of our economies in the region. This provides us an opportunity to strengthen our partnership with governments and other stakeholders in furthering our regional integration.

Your Excellencies,

As a community, we stand proud that EAC is the fastest integrating regional bloc in the African continent according to the latest report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). This is due to the important role played by the private sector.

Your Excellencies,

To fulfill our mandate and contribution to this community, EABC in partnership with TradeMark East Africa are working to reduce trade barriers and improve business competitiveness through Public Private Dialogues in the following areas; Transport and Logistics, Trade Facilitation, Customs and Tax, Standards and SPS.

 Further, we are currently in partnership with International Trade Centre, Geneva we are building capacity  of over 100 experts on trade facilitation from each EAC Partner State. Further, we shall in collaboration with GIZ and Nelson Mandela Institute of Science and Technology to offer over 50 scholarships to the best students in the region in the area of Information Technology.

EABC in collaboration with GIZ is also facilitating growth of SMEs in our region by matching them with their counterparts in Germany and other parts of the world for transfer of technology and best practice to the region.

Your Excellencies,

EABC will continue to play our role in strengthening the role of private sector in regional integration; however we shall need support and cooperation from the governments to continue being strong partners but not observers.

Your Excellencies,

The Intra EAC trade is currently only at 20% far below SADC which is at 47% and EU at 68%. Further, intra EAC trade is showing declining trend since 2014. All these is attributed to Non Tarrif Barriers which we are happy is part of the agenda in this 20th Heads of State Summit. We shall be happy to offer Partnership where required to solve them. Your strong intervention is now very necessary.

Your Excellencies,

Other challenges include non-implementation of directives/decisions taken at the regional level by respective Partner States. With consistent political goodwill and vigor, we shall continue to grow as a community.

 Your Excellencies,

As private sector, we encourage other neighbouring countries to join this community as to remain a formidable economic block. We are aware Ethiopia with a huge market and DR Congo are possible candidates to this community.

Your Excellencies,

In conclusion, we seek your support to offer EABC the necessary environment such as a Headquarter agreement, which will allow us access to diplomatic status for ease of our operations. We appeal and shall continue engaging with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, East African, Regional and International Cooperation in  the United Republic of Tanzania to fast track this process.

I would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to speak to you today.

I thank you.