Friday, 23rd July 2021: – The East African Business Council is calling for a coordinated approach on COVID-19 measures to spur EAC economic recovery and growth.
Speaking during the 80th Board Meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, EABC Chairman, Mr. Nicholas Nesbitt said, “EAC bloc should urgently work to attract international investors and embark on joint regional investments in the vaccine manufacturing industry for quick economic recovery.” He noted that joint EAC investment offers a larger pool of capital resources, expertise and market.
Low access to vaccines, slow vaccine roll-out and potentially high cost of vaccinations risk holding back the recovery of EAC economies. The EAC Gross Domestic Product growth is projected at 3.5% in 2021 and 4.7% in 2022 (AfDB, 2021).
The Board directed the EABC Secretariat to champion advocacy on the adoption of open skies and One Network Area to reduce the cost of doing business in the region. Open Skies attract regional tourism and improve consolidation of EAC exports to overseas markets such as horticulture. This is critical to support the resilience and recovery of tourism, hospitality and transport sectors highly impacted by the pandemic. EAC Partner States lost an estimate of USD 4.2 Billion of international tourism receipts in the year 2020
On his part, EABC CEO, Mr. John Bosco Kalisa said “EABC has embarked on a regional SMEs platform to champion advocacy on access to markets, finance and roll out business development services to support resilience and expansion of SMEs across EAC borders and continental market of 1.3 billion consumers.”
Mr. Kalisa stated that monitoring and quick elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers is important to facilitate cross-border trade and investment.
Harmonization of taxes, standards & SPS Measures, liberalizing of services, strengthening of regional value chains for industrialization, adoption of digital tools, e-commerce, COVID-19 stimulus packages for businesses are among other priority areas that the East African Business Council will champion to boost intra-EAC trade and investment.
“Encouraging investments in environment conservation, adaptability and sustainability to push forward the EAC bloc into the blue and greener economy, ” said Mr. Kalisa.
Mr. Kalisa also noted the need to fast-track inter-connectivity and development of multimodal water transport infrastructure to enhance the competitiveness and increase EAC exports to the Democratic Republic of Congo and other neighboring countries linked by Lake Tanganyika, Kivu, Victoria, Albert and River Nile and Kagera.
On behalf of the Board, the Chairman officially recognized and congratulated Mr. Dennis Karera for being nominated as the EABC focal point on the African Continental Free trade Area (AfCFTA). The board also nominated Mrs. Mary Ngechu to champion the regional SMEs platform.
Chairman Nesbitt, appreciated the deep political commitment and goodwill of the EAC Heads of State to partner with the East African private sector to drive economic growth and prosperity.
Mr. John Bosco Kalisa
Executive Director/ CEO
East African Business Council (EABC)
9th Floor Mafao House | Old Moshi Road | Arusha | Tanzania
P. O. Box 2617 | Tel: +255 27 2520162
EABC – The Voice of the Private Sector in East Africa
About East African Business Council: The East African Business Council (EABC) is the regional apex body of private sector associations and Corporates from the 6 East African countries. It was established in 1997 to foster the interests of the private sector in the integration process of the East African Community. EABC vision is a borderless East Africa for business and investment. The primary mission is to promote sustainable private sector driven growth in the EAC.