Tuesday, 8th March 2022: – The African Continental Free Trade Area, Small Medium Enterprises, Digital Transformation and Climate Change are among the new frontiers outlined by the Board of the East African Business Council set to steer the East African Community’s economic growth.
The region’s economic growth was projected at more than 5 percent before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking during the 82nd EABC Board Meeting held yesterday, the Chairman Mr. Nicholas Nesbitt, EBS, OGW said “EABC will develop a strategy paper to enable the private sector to consolidate efforts and unlock the opportunities availed by the new frontiers.”
Chairman Nesbitt expounded that the strategy will delve into climate mitigation matters, roll out robust sensitization campaigns on African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) plus other emerging issues. UN Economic Commission for Africa research shows by 2045 Africa’s Gross Domestic Product will increase by USD 55 billion and welfare by USD 3 billion through the implementation of the AfCFTA.
The Board noted that intra-EAC trade is set to increase following the uplifting of COVID-19 measures by EAC Partner States. Chairman Nesbitt appreciated the Government of the Republic of Rwanda under the leadership of H.E. President Paul Kagame for re-opening land borders following the assessment of COVID-19 measures.
The Board further called upon the Governments of EAC Partner States to allocate budgets to improve infrastructure at the EAC border points and alternative means of transport such as railway and waterways. This is geared to reduce the turnaround time for cargo trucks and the cost of doing business in the EAC region.
The Board underscored the importance of partnerships to ensure cross-border trade and investment barriers pertinent to Youth and Women in Trade are solved under the EABC-East African SME Platform.
Quick finalization of the comprehensive review of the Common External Tariff by the EAC Partner States, Harmonization of domestic taxes, Product standards harmonization, Business mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers are some of the priorities set out by the EABC Board.
Today, EABC is holding a Regional Private Sector Pre-Heads of State Engagement to deliberate and chart out policy priorities to be presented to the upcoming EAC Heads of State Summit.