EABC in collaboration with Private Sector Federation (PSF) successfully organized CEO Evening Round Table Meeting on Tuesday, 26th March 2019 at Kigali Convention Centre in Kigali Rwanda, from 18:30hrs – 21:00 hrs. Mr. Stephen Ruzibiza, Chief Executive Officer, PSF shared remarks on PSF – EABC collaboration and synergy in defining and advancing the policy agenda at the regional level.
Hon. Peter Mathuki, Chief Executive Officer, EABC talked on repositioning East African Business Council from observer status to a partner in the EAC integration process. He highlighted that EABC Secretariat is starting desks on SMEs, Energy & Infrastructure, Trade in Services, Agriculture, Manufacturing in a bid to serve the needs of the business community.
Mr. Ben Ruhinda from the Inter-University Council for Eastern Africa (IUCEA) shared insights on the opportunities for collaborations between IUCEA and the EAC private sector.
Mr. Denis Karera, EABC Vice Chairman, urged business people to have a keen interest in attracting international brands such as JAVA & the 160 million people in EAC and embark on doing business across EAC borders. He emphasized that for businesses to thrive, there is a need to have free movement of persons, labour, services in accordance with the Common Market Protocol.
“We as the business community need to capitalize trading among ourselves in the EAC and AfCFTA,” said EABC Vice Chair Mr. Denis Karera in his opening remarks.
Mr. Karera emphasized the urgent need for businesses to reap the opportunities that will be availed from the AfCFTA and recommended for the full implementation of EAC protocols and commitments. “If we don’t overcome the fear of trading beyond borders & liberalization and get started, then we will never get started at all,” he said.
The Chief Guest at the EABC PSF CEO Evening Round Table Meeting in Kigali was the EAC Secretary General represented by Mr. Kenneth Bagamuhunda the Director General Customs &Trade EAC. He reiterated EAC’s commitment to partner with EABC on issues that have an impact to businesses He informed CEOs of the EAC-EABC Technical Committee that works together to address issues related to the ease of doing business in the region and private sector development.
He emphasized that it is no longer tenable for businesses to function within the confines of one geographical area and urged the private sector to proactively take advantage of the TFTA and AfCTA.
He further briefed the CEOs that private sector development strategy at regional level seeks to:
- Consolidate Customs union into a borderless trade and investment bloc.
- Free movement of factors of production
- Industrialized economy
- Agri value addition and regional value chains
- Peace and security
Among the issues discussed during the meeting include:
- Insurance: Collaboration with security agents / Sectoral Council of Inter-State Police at Rusumo Border on :
- Security of goods in transit
- road accidents among other risks
- Movement of pharmaceutical products
- EAC regional bond
- Unleashing the trade opportunities under the AfCFTA
- Non-Tariff Barriers
- Liberalization of the service sector in the EAC
The Evening Round Table Meeting ended with renewed energy in repositioning the voice of the private sector in the EAC integration process.
Much Appreciation to EABC Vice Chairman and Board Members Mr. Rusagara, Mr. Nkusi Mr. Ruzibiza and Past Chairman Mr. Mbundu for the active participation and support.