Saturday, 19th November, 2022 Kigali, Rwanda: The East African Business Council Chief Executive Officer Mr. John Bosco Kalisa paid a courtesy visit to the Director General of Trade & Investment, Ministry of Trade & Industry, Rwanda, Mr. Antoine Kajangwe and discussed areas set to strengthen trade ties between Rwanda with East African counterparts and unlock opportunities availed by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Mr. Kalisa, congratulated the Government of the Republic of Rwanda for being selected to champion trading under AfCFTA through the Guided Trade Initiative where tea and coffee have been exported to Ghana.
Director General Antoine Kajangwe stated that AfCFTA avails a bigger market of 1.3 billion consumers with similar preferences and easier standards, which makes it ideal for East African businesses to trade.
Mr. Kalisa called upon the Ministry of Trade & Industry of Rwanda in the EAC Council of Ministers to champion the alignment of EAC’s tariff offer for Category A products under AfCFTA with the new EAC Common External Tariff and finalization of outstanding AfCFTA Rules of Origin on textiles apparels, sugar, tobacco and automobile.
He elaborated that World Bank reports show trade facilitation measures such as simplified customs procedures and elimination of NTBS will contribute USD 292 billion to the USD 450billion potential income gains in the implementation of AfCFTA.
Director General Kajangwe urged EABC to spearhead advocacy on improving the trade environment in the EAC bloc amid the COVID-19 pandemic and global shocks.
The Director General elaborated that Rwanda successfully rolled out the Manufacturing Build to Recovery Program that supported companies with fiscal incentives and the Economic Recovery Fund of USD350 billion has been central to business resilience, continuity and rebound amid the pandemic.
This high-level engagement was organized under the EABC- Trademark East Africa (TMEA) Public-Private Dialogue Project funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.