- Africa accounts for 42% share of EAC exports of goods globally
Wednesday, 30th November 2022, Nairobi, Kenya: The East African Business Council (EABC) and the GIZ- Support to East African Market-Driven and People-Centred Integration Programme II kicked off the Regional Training of Trainers on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement and Trade in Goods Protocol.
In his remarks, EABC CEO, Mr. John Bosco Kalisa represented by Mr. Adrian Njau, EABC Trade and Policy Advisor said, “the EABC-GIZ Regional Workshop on Training of Trainers workshop aims to develop a pool of EAC private sector’s Trainers on AfCFTA who will be imparted with skills and knowledge on interpreting the AfCFTA Agreement in order to conduct national level AfCFTA sensitization training for businesses in their respective countries.”
Statistics show, in 2021 intra-Africa goods exports reached USD 82.2 billion, and EAC exports of goods to Africa stood at USD 7.9 billion composing 42% share of EAC total exports of goods to the world (USD 18.7 billion). Top EAC exports to Africa included precious stones, coffee, tea, cement, animal fats, mineral oils & iron and steel.
The training will enhance awareness of AfCFTA Trade in Goods Protocol and its annexes (especially Rules of Origin, Tariff Concession and Non-Tariff Barriers) and implications to businesses in the EAC bloc.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Max Middeke, Deputy Programme Manager, GIZ Support to East African Integration said “GIZ- SEAMPEC II partnered with EABC to enhance effective EAC private sector participation in the EAC and AfCFTA integration processes.”
He elaborated that the Regional Training of Trainers workshop is one of the capacity interventions rolled out to enable the private sector to take advantage of the opportunities availed by AfCFTA in a bid to boost EAC’s exports to Africa.
Mr. Geoffrey Osoro Trade Advisor with EAC Secretariat said the training of trainers will complement the EAC Secretariat’s initiatives of sensitization EAC stakeholders on AfCFTA as it will enable to reach wider private stakeholders who EAC Secretariat could be able. He added that as part of sensitization of AfCFTA to various stakeholders the Secretariat is planning to develop simple guide of the agreements and its annexes as well as translate the Annexes in simple language to enable wider stakeholders understand the Agreements.
“We need to urge private stakeholders especially from South Sudan to advocate for rectify the AfCFTA Agreement so all of EAC Partner States can move together” Osoro said.
The private sector players are the main implementors of the AfCFTA Agreement while Governments facilitate trade and investment by creating a conducive business environment. The implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement will reduce tariffs and non-tariff barriers which is set to boost EAC’s exports to the continent. East Africa as bloc has great potential to export vegetables, tea, rice, coffee, sugar, textile products, soap, sesame seeds, edible oils, tubers and milk to the continent.
The Training of Trainers workshop convened 20 representatives from business membership organizations from EAC Partner States who will be awarded certificate of competence as Trainers on AfCFTA Agreement. To make the creation of awareness on AfCFTA sustainable business membership organizations have been urged to mainstream the campaigns in their work plan so that in collaboration with EABC the can launch national sensitization workshops early next year. The business membership organizations which are participating in the training of trainers compose of national apex bodies, manufacturers and sector associations of leather, pharmaceuticals and fruits & Vegetables.