• EABC & KEPSA in partnership with ITC and TMEA convene regional private sector consultative workshop on the EAC tariff offers to the AfCFTA
  • Embark on Regional Value Chains and improve competitiveness -says EABC Chairman


Nairobi, 24th June 2019:- The two-day meeting, organized jointly between the East African Business Council (EABC), the Kenya Private Sector Alliance(KEPSA), International Trade Centre (ITC)  and TradeMark East Africa , convened over 40 industry and business experts from the region to deliberate on liberalization of goods and services in a bid to repositioning the EAC region in light of the AfCFTA.


44 Member States of the African Union signed the Framework Agreement establishing the AfCFTA on March 2018 in Kigali Rwanda. The same Summit adopted the protocol on Trade in Goods, Services and Rules & Procedures on Dispute Settlement.


The Chief Guest, Mr. Nicholas Nesbitt the EABC Chairman in his remarks urged the EAC Partner States to address competitiveness impediments facing East African businesses such as the high cost of transport, logistics, energy and access to finance, to harness the benefits brought about by the AfCFTA.


“The region should embark on Regional Value Addition through manufacturing with the aim of harnessing opportunities provided by AfCFTA Market. The Afcfta can support East African Plants to run at full capacity by expanding their markets to other African countries,” said Mr. Nesbitt.



He further urged the EAC Partner States to address Non-Tariff barriers through development of an effective framework/mechanism at a continental level with punitive measures for member countries who fail to comply with the stipulated provisions to eliminate NTBs.


Speaking at the opening session, Hon. Peter Mathuki CEO EABC said, “Africa is positioning to negotiate as one bloc at the global level. The East African private needs to come up with a common position on  the AfCFTA negotiations and EABC is keen to spearhead and take a central position in the AfCFTA conversation.“


“Today's consultative workshop is a follow up of the EABC-UNECA regional workshop on AfCFTA in April 2019, which recommended for the involvement of the EAC private sector in the negotiation process of AfCFTA instruments, understanding the offers to ensure regional private sector interests are considered,” said Hon. Mathuki.


He said the workshop will enlighten on the business implications of the AfCFTA protocol on trade in goods and services, free movement of persons and how the EAC private sector is positioning itself to seize the benefits arising from the continental free trade area.

In her remarks Ms. Emily Ndoria, Principal Trade Officer of the EAC representing the EAC Secretary General said “the EAC has been instrumental in the development of the AfCFTA and   follows up in the negotiations of trade in goods and services”


The EAC is negotiating as one bloc and has developed draft offers for the AfCFTA negotiations. The region is looking at how to maintain the Common Market and Customs Union in light of the AfCFTA.


 “A major part of the rationale for the AfCFTA relates to the fact that intra-regional trade offers potential to facilitate increased economies of scale as well as diversification and value addition, ” said Mr. Jean-Sébastien Roure  Senior Officer Trade Facilitation and Policy for Business Section ITC.


Recent studies have shown that manufactured goods account for 41.9 percent of intra-African exports, compared with only 14.8 percent of exports outside the continent. Intra-African trade is also more diversified and has relatively higher local content. Accordingly, studies also show that establishing the AfCFTA’s highest intra-African trade boosting effect would be for industrial products, with obvious positive effects in terms of job and income generation as well as technological upgrading, skills development and local firms’ competitiveness.


“For African businesses to increase their competitiveness and African economies to reap those gains, an important element should be to make sure tariff rates on important intermediate inputs for which regional production capacity does not exist are reduced,” said Mr. Jean-Sébastien.


“TMEA is supporting the private sector and EABC to position itself to take advantage of the opportunities that will arise out of the AfCFTA. The projected increase in intra-Africa trade will enhance sustainable economic development and job creation,” said Ms. Paveen Mbeda, Programme Manager Business Competitiveness TMEA.


During the two day workshop, experts from ITC and TMEA are expected to share insights on addressing Non-Tariff Measures, advocacy and Trade Facilitation reforms in regard to the AfCFTA.


The fast pace of country ratifications has seen 23 member states ratify as of May 31st, 2019 and the agreement coming into force on 30th May 2019. It is expected that up to 25 member states will have ratified by the time of the African Union Summit in Niger in July 2019.


Under Trade in goods, the first step is for countries and customs unions to decide among themselves which goods should receive each classification – fully-liberalized, sensitive, and exempt. The private sector as the engine for economic growth in the region is expected to scrutinize the goods and services to be liberalized in light of the AfCFTA.


The EAC Partner States in 2010, made commitments to open their market in seven (7) service sectors, namely: business; education; finance; communication; tourism and travel related; and transport. The EAC is currently undertaking a comprehensive review of  Common External Tariff in order to come up with an acceptable EAC CET Structure that recognizes the different degrees of product value addition and sensitive goods.



Note to editors


About the International Trade Centre (ITC) – The International Trade Centre (ITC) is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations based in Geneva, Switzerland. ITC helps small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing and transition countries to connect and become more competitive in global markets, contributing to the sustainable economic development in the Aid for Trade agenda and to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.


For more information please visit: http://www.intracen.org

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About TradeMark East Africa

TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) is funded by a range of development agencies with the aim of growing prosperity in East Africa through trade. We believe that enhanced trade contributes to economic growth, a reduction in poverty and subsequently increased prosperity. Visit: https://www.trademarkea.com/#


About East African Business Council


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.


For more information, please visit: http://eabc-online.com

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