EAC REGIONAL LEATHER FORUM URGES FOR CREATION OF A READY MARKET

  • Fast Track the Implementation of Regional Leather Strategy- EABC says
  • EAC Partner States should create a readily accessible  market  for leather products in  the EAC – EABC says

Arusha, Tanzania: 25th May 2019: The EAC Regional Leather Forum convened by the East African Business Council brought together over 40  Industry champions in the leather manufacturing from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. The forum has recommended for the creation of a readily accessible regional market for leather products and a conducive business environment to promote regional value addition in the leather sector.

According to World Bank Kenya Leather Industry - Diagnosis, Strategy and Action Plan, Leather and Leather products among the most widely traded agro-based commodities in the world,  with a global estimated trade value of over US$ 150 billion a year, more than five times that of coffee. Despite owning about 15% of the world's cattle population, Africa accounts for only 8% of the world production of cattle hides and 4% of world leather production.

Speaking at the opening session, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo, EAC Deputy Secretary General Productive and Social Sectors represented by Mr. Jean Baptiste Havugimana , EAC Director Productive Sectors said “the EAC Secretariat and the Partner States have prioritized the development of the Leather Sector Value Chain for job creation and as a means of providing affordable, new and quality options for leather products to the citizens.”

The 19th Ordinary Summit held in February 2018 in Kampala, directed the Council to put in place mechanisms that support leather manufacturing in the region.  The EAC Secretariat is currently finalizing the development of a regional EAC Leather and Leather Products Strategy (2019 – 2029).

 

In his remarks Hon. Peter Mathuki, EABC CEO said,” Leather is one of the flagship sectors of the EAC, there is a need for continuous and collective advocacy to ensure effective implementation of the regional EAC Leather and Leather Products Strategy (2019 – 2029).” He urged leather industry players to embark on the formation of the regional leather association in close partnership with the EABC.

Ms. Beatrice Mwasi, Secretary General Kenya Leather Apex Society urged EAC leather industry to be more innovative,  improve branding and urged the EAC Partner States to offer incentives for value addition in the leather sector.

Among challenges facing the leather sector include lack of defined standards, poor quality infrastructure of tanneries and abbotoirs, illicit trade, insufficient supply of chemicals, equipment and accessories used in leather, import levy on leather inputs by some Partner States, policy incoherence and uncontrolled imports of leather.

The industrialists urged for zero rate of imported inputs  used in the leather industry, establishment of  structures to implement policies, collectively and gradual phase-out second hand leather shoes / poor quality leather products in the region, skills development, amendment of outdated policies, business cooperation, promotion of  export diversification, curbing value leakage and also reinvigorating the potential of the leather industry in creating jobs, income generation and alleviation of poverty.

 

“The government to should fast track implementation of regional leather strategy,  be the first consumer of leather products and ease trading of leather products among the EAC Partner State,” said Hon Peter Mathuki, EABC CEO.

 

The forum charted out appropriate recommendations on regional policy matters as espoused by the Summit  and called for  a coherent and robust marketing strategy, good manufacturing practices, an enabling, predictable and stable business environment by collectively addressing governance issues, regulatory, market and information challenges which reduce incentives for private investments along the leather and leather products value chain.

 

The EAC Regional Leather Forum is organized by the East African Business Council (EABC) in collaboration with the EAC Secretariat and with the support of GIZ/GFA project on Socio-Economic Integration.

About EABC

The East African Business Council (EABC) is the regional apex body of Private Sector associations and Corporates from the 6 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. Being the representative of Private Sector associations in the region, EABC was granted observer status in organs and activities of the East African Community (EAC). EABC, therefore, participates in various sectoral meetings, meetings of the Coordination Committee, the EAC Council of Ministers, and the Summit of the EAC Heads of State; with a view to ensure that the agenda of the Private Sector is well articulated and received by the policymakers.

Vision: Borderless East Africa for business and investment.

Mission: To promote sustainable Private Sector-driven growth.

EABC Membership is drawn from the six East African Partner States and is open to all national and regional associations as well as Corporates with interest in the EAC Integration process or operations in the region. At the national level, EABC activities are coordinated through the EABC National Focal Points, who are also the national Private Sector umbrella bodies. These are Federal Chamber of Commerce and Industries Burundi (CFCIB), Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), Rwanda Private Sector Federation (PSF), Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) and Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU).

For more information about EABC, visit www.eabc.info.