Arusha, Tanzania: January 31st, 2019: The East African Business Council (EABC) officially opened their new offices in Arusha, at Mafao House with a challenge presented to the entire business community of East Africa: "Take up the slogan: 'People-based & Private Sector-driven'

Officiating at the ceremony, the Chair of the Council of Ministers for East African Community, Rt. Hon. Kirunda Kivejinja, who was the Chief Guest, urged East African businesses to focus all their efforts on the people of the region and to take up leadership.

"You businessmen must know your surroundings. There are opportunities all over East Africa and you must find them within this region. Africa is the continent of the future; our population is growing fast. We provide a large market for produce and a strong work force of producers in this region," he said.

EABC Chairman, Nicholas Nesbitt applauded Hon. Kivejinja for framing the challenges of business and industry in the EAC within a global historical context.

"Thank you for reminding us, Right Honourable Minister, not to repeat history by selling ourselves for a few trinkets like beads, mirrors, and cowrie shells. As East Africans we should learn from history and not be confused by people coming from overseas bearing gifts," he said.

"As the Right Honourable Minister said, East Africa is full of opportunities and we need to lead our business community to take them up. No one country can grow without another, and as the EAC we should make this our ethos in everything," Nesbitt said.

Rt. Hon. Kivejinja was accompanied by Uganda's Minister for Security, Hon. Gen. Elly Tumwine, Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for the Interior and Coordination of National Government, Defence Advisor at the Uganda High Commission to Tanzania, Maj. Gen. Stephen Kashaka, and Kenya's Principal Secretary at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives.

Gen. Tumwine commended the EABC on the new development and underscored the synergy between security and business, inviting the business community to add to the security efforts of the governments.

"Security is not about the armed forces. It is about everybody feeling free to do business wherever they want so long as they do it legally," he said, advising the business community to contribute to security by installing CCTV cameras at their premises.

Kenya's Ole Ntutu supported the suggestion.

Rt. Hon. Kivenjinja underscored the progress made by the EABC engagement with the EAC over the years..

"So far, for instance, we have cleared 45 non-tariff barriers (NTBs), and only 17 remain unresolved - but of those, we are sure of a way forward for 15 NTBs. We are positive about the future of business in the EAC," he said

In his closing remarks, Mr. Nesbitt reiterated his commitment to continue carrying the vision of the founding chairpersons of EABC and appreciated all members, members and partners in particular TradeMark East Africa for supporting the official launch of the new EABC Secretariat office and the continued support.