Wednesday,1st February 2023, Kigali, Rwanda: – The East African Business Council (EABC) Chief Executive Officer Mr. John Bosco Kalisa paid a courtesy call on Hon. Prof Nshuti Manasseh, Minister of State in Charge of East African Community (EAC) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MINAFFET).
In his remarks, EABC CEO Mr. Kalisa appreciated and congratulated the Government of the Republic of Rwanda for the deep political goodwill in fostering trade in the EAC integration agenda.
Mr. Kalisa appreciated the re-opening of borders that has eased trade between Rwanda and Uganda and Rwanda and Burundi.
He urged the Government of the Republic of Rwanda to champion the implementation of the EAC SMEs Charter and fast track implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol Commitments.
He elaborated that private sector are ready to invest in the bloc, but non-tariff barriers, inactive trade remedies committee, un-harmonized domestic taxes, high cost of air transport & telecommunication constrain business growth and expansion across EAC borders.
In his address, Hon. Prof Nshuti Manasseh reiterated the Government of the Republic of Rwanda commitment provide a predictable and conducive business environment and promote partnerships to ease access to affordable finance for SMEs.
Hon. Minister said, “National polices should be at par, harmonized and integrated for EAC Common Market to be accessible and predictability for the businesses.”
The Hon. Minister called upon EABC to champion regional study on SMEs in order to support their growth and access to the EAC and continental market. He stated that SMEs are central to job creation and economic growth but skills gap, difficulties to meet product quality & standards, shortage of venture capital, un-structured policy engagement framework and information asymmetry for SMEs are among areas to be re-examined.
He also called upon corporate companies to nature SMEs and integrate them into their supply chains.
Hon. Prof Nshuti urged EABC steer advocacy on protectionist policies that set back growth of intra-EAC trade and investment and full realization of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) 1.3 billion market.
The EABC is steadfast to public private dialogue and present memoranda of private policy proposals to EAC Council of Ministers in order to increase intra-EAC trade and investment and accelerate market driven regional integration process.