Arusha, Tanzania: April 15, 2019: The East African Business Council (EABC) in collaboration with TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) have launched the regional programme on Public-Private Sector Dialogue (PPD) for Trade and Investment from 2019 to 2023.

Speaking at the official kick-off ceremony at EABC Secretariat Hon. Peter Mathuki said “ The project aims to enhance advocacy and dialogue on transport and logistics, trade facilitation, customs & tax, standards, and NTBs at regional and country level. In addition, the programme extends beyond the EAC and incorporates the COMESA, COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) and  Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).”

 “The EABC is keen to enhance dialogue and partnership between the private and public sector, hence EABC will spearhead the programme in close collaboration with the all national and regional sectoral private sector associations in the EAC,” said Hon. Peter Mathuki, EABC CEO.

For businesses in the region to grow and expand within and beyond the EA,  there is a need for technical and financial support to EABC in a bid to advocate and input substantive issues affecting the business community in regard to policy formulation and implementation in the region.

“Public-Private Dialogue can facilitate the trade & investment climate reforms by promoting better diagnosis of investment climate problems, transparency and inclusive design of policy reforms making policies easier to implement. TMEA launched this new partnership with EABC to galvanize and facilitate trade and investments in the EAC,” said Mr. Allan Ngugi, Ag. Director Private Sector Advocacy TMEA.


This partnership comes at an opportune time when the EAC integration process is marking 20 years in November 2019  since the signing of the Treaty, it is important that the private sector and government dialogue and ensure that protocols and policies work on the ground for EAC businesses. In addition, Article 7 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC states on people-centered and market-driven cooperation as a principle to govern practical achievements of the objectives of the EAC integration process. Further Article 128 emphasizes on strengthening of the private sector as a key partner in the EAC integration.

“Barriers to trading across borders such as multiple product standard inspections, bureaucratic trade procedures delays business transactions and increase the cost of doing business. EABC will evaluate and monitor EAC policies to ensure they work for businesses at the ground level and create momentum for accelerating the policy reforms related to business and investment climate in the EAC ” said Hon. Peter Mathuki.


The programme seeks to contribute to the reduction of transport (road, rail, and air) cost and time along transport corridors by 10% and increase the efficiency of logistic services. Furthermore, it will increase the export capacity of East African businesses and enhance customs and other trade-related agencies efficiency by reducing time to process trade documentation.


“It will enhance dialogue on customs matters such as tariffs, taxes, levies, Common External Tariffs, and import/export tax incentives. It will also look at Harmonization of East African Standards, counterfeit and sub-standard issues as well as Non-Tariff Barriers,” said Hon. Mathuki, EABC CEO.


“The operationalization of the Single Customs Territory has contributed to the reduction of delays in cargo clearance in the Northern Corridor, the turnaround time of goods transiting from Mombasa to Kampala has been reduced from 18 days to 4, and goods from Mombasa to Kigali, from 21 days to 6.2, “ said Hon. Mathuki, EABC CEO.

According to the World Trade Organization to the Central Corridor turnaround time between the port of Dar es Salaam and Kigali (or Bujumbura) has been reduced from over 20 days to 6.

According to the WorldBank Ease of Doing Business report (2018), EAC is ranked at 149 out of 190 in the ease of trading across borders.  In the region, the time it takes to export is at an average of 76.hrs which is too high compared to  12.5 hours in OECD High-Income Economies. The cost to export outside the region is at an average of USD427.8 compared to 139.1 in OECD High-Income economies. The export documentary compliance in the region takes 80.2hours and cost USD 170.2 while in OECD High-Income economies is at 2.4hrs and USD35.2 respectively.

TMEA will continue to play a critical role in facilitating ease of doing business in the region and the continent.

Arusha, Tanzania: 8th April 2019  EABC partners with the International Trade Centre (ITC) under the 4 year EU-EAC Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP) to improve capacity to advocate for the removal of trade barriers, standards and harmonization of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures and enhance export competitiveness. This new partnership will support EABC to improve the capacity of the private sector and trade supporting institutions on the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in East Africa in a bid to remove barriers to trade.

“It is undisputable fact that the TFA is increasingly becoming an important tool for countries to improve their business environment by initiating various trade facilitation reforms,” said Hon. Peter Mathuki, CEO EABC  during the official opening ceremony of the regional training on trade facilitation.

Witnessing the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding is ITC representative, Ms. Victoria Tuomisto who in collaboration with EABC is conducting the Training for Masters of Trainers on Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), that kicked off at EABC Secretariat in Arusha, Tanzania.

Delays and red tape hamper the movement of goods across borders for traders. In the East African Community (EAC), inefficient trade procedures and non-tariff barriers represent an obstacle to expanded intra-regional trade and deepened regional integration. Trade facilitation – the simplification, modernization and harmonization of export and import processes – has thus become a key issue for the global trade system and for regional economic communities, such as the EAC, to create new thriving opportunities for businesses that are operating in regional and international markets.

With provisions to speed up the movement, release and clearance of goods, the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) – which entered into force in February 2017 – represents a viable option to resolve cross-border trade inefficiencies. Under the EU-EAC Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the East African Business Council (EABC) are conducting a training-of-trainers event on the TFA from 8-12 April 2019 in Arusha, Tanzania.

The training aims to build the capacity of local trade professionals to understand the provisions of the Agreement and empower business support associations and traders to address cross-border trade inefficiencies efficiently and advocate for their removal. Additional TFA trainings will then be replicated autonomously in every EAC member states – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. As a result of this regional initiative, project stakeholders will achieve greater sensitization of EAC trade operators on the need to simplify cross-border trade procedures and to promote better participation of the private sector in public-private dialogue platforms responsible for the implementation of the TFA at the national level. ITC and the EABC look forward to strengthening public-private dialogue and contributing to improving the business climate in East Africa while enhancing the private sector’s ability to address procedural obstacles to intra-regional trade.  This capacity-building initiative is an extension of the efforts undertaken since the entry into force of the TFA in 2017, and is part of a strengthened collaboration between EABC, the EAC Secretariat and ITC through the financial contribution of the European Union.

The EABC CEO Round Table Meeting in Arusha convened over 30 top CEOs of Companies based Arusha and Kilimanjaro region and urged them to proactively seize opportunities arising from the EAC regional integration process.

In his opening remarks at EABC CEO Round Table Breakfast Meeting in Arusha, Tanzania, Hon Peter Mathuki, CEO EABC urged business in Arusha to proactively engage the East African Community through EABC given the proximity advantage that the EAC and EABC Secretariat are located in Arusha. He noted there is a need to remove Non-Tariff Barriers and embark on trading proactively with the neighboring countries even before venturing outside the continent.

“Let’s spur business within ourselves as the EAC bloc,” said Hon. Mathuki, EABC CEO.

Speaking at the CEO Round Table Meeting Mr. Charles Omusana from the EAC Secretariat informed the CEOs on initiatives and programmes that support businesses growth and Investment the EAC Secretariat is working on such as the review of the EAC CET. He noted, “It is the right of the private sector to demand a better and improved business climate in the region.” He further urged the CEOs to give input on the EAC Private Sector Development Strategy that will be developed.

The Chairman of TCCIA Arusha Mr. Walter Maeda welcomed closer collaboration between TCCIA and the East African Business Council in a bid to support SMEs to take advantage of the opportunities availed by the  EAC regional integration process.

“Request for waiver of duty from the Import Commissioner for EAC Originating Goods takes 7 days, this delays business and intra EAC Trade” Mr. Amani Temu from Taha Fresh elaborated one of the obstacles to cross border trade. Among other issues, affecting businesses is the recent notice on no conditional release for imported goods by the Tanzania Bureau of Standards, which subjects imported goods from the EAC Partner States to inspections causing delay.

The steel industry in Arusha is calling for the review of East African Harmonized Standards on hot-rolled steel plates of less than 1mm as the plates are an important raw material for their industries.

“Mutual Recognition of Standards is important to businesses, such protectionist administrative measures are NTBs which hinder intra EAC trade, “ said Hon Mathuki

The CEO Forum in Arusha agreed to consolidate issues affecting businesses at the ground and through the support of EABC they are keen to engage the EAC Secretary General and Council of Minister for a quick resolution.

The EABC CEO Round Table Meeting in Arusha brought together high-level managers from  KCB Bank, Eco Bank, CRDB Bank, Lodhia Group of Industries, Kijenge Animals Products, Ethiopian Airlines, Nabaki Afrika,CNBM Builders, Precision Air, Harsho Group, REDAX, Vodacom, ANZA, TCCIA and Darsh Industries among others.

The EABC Secretariat team hosted Ms. Jean Lubega-Kyazze, Senior Private Sector Specialist Finance Competitiveness, and Innovation, World Bank Group.

Hon. Peter Mathuki, CEO EABC discussed with her on the role of the private sector as the engine for economic growth in the region. The discussions highlighted the need for the private sector to take full advantage of the opportunities availed by the Common Market Protocol, elimination of critical Non-Tariff barriers and transforming Political goodwill into action. EABC will collaborate with World Bank on the EAC Common Market Score Card and coming up with an e-Business registry for the region.

The EAC Common Market Score Card will showcase private sector perspectives on the implementation of the Common Market Protocol by highlighting real cases on what’s happening on the ground.