Thursday, 2nd September 2021, Zanzibar: The East African Business Council in partnership with Zanzibar National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) and the Federation of German Industries held the CEO Round Table in Zanzibar at Madinat Al Bahr Hotel.
The CEO Round Table on EAC regional integration was graced by Mr. Soud Said Ali, Director General of Zanzibar Micro, Small and Medium Industry Development Agency (SMIDA) representing the Ministry of Trade and Industrial Development Zanzibar. The Director-General expressed the deep commitment by the government to support small industries to expand their businesses across EAC borders.
In his remarks, EABC CEO Mr. John Bosco Kalisa, said that Zanzibar is endowed with great resources and EABC commits to champion the growth of tourism amid COVID-19 pandemic, Swahili culture and blue economy.
He urged for quick establishment of a special and dedicated channel for Zanzibar’s top exports at the point of entry to ease access and trading to the larger EAC Common Market of 177 million consumers and the new continental market of 1.3 billion people.
He commended the government for constructing the new terminal at Zanzibar Airport that is set to boost tourism and exports. He elaborated the EABC in partnership is establishing a trade hotline at the borders to report Non-Tariff Barriers and facilitate market access.
The business leaders explained that it is only through access to larger markets such as the EAC and AfCFTA that industries in Zanzibar can benefit from economies of scale and grow.
Ms. Najma Hussein, Executive Director of Zanzibar Women Chambers of Commerce urged for more capacity building for women-owned small-scale industries on improving product quality and production processes such as packaging.
Industry Champions in Zanzibar called for improved trade facilitation at the ports by harmonizing, digitalizing administrative processes in order to reduce the cost of doing business and improve export competitiveness.
Mr. Hamad Hamad, Executive Director of ZNCC elaborated that the recommendations of the CEO Round Table will be presented to the EAC-EAC Technical Working Group that analyzes and solves cross-border trade barriers.
EABC and ZNCC have partnered to roll out the East African Business Directory and the MANSA digital platform that is set to enable businesses to market their products and services to potential clients and partners across the continent.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Mohammed Hafidh, Board Member ZNCC said “Public-Private Partnership is important for the development of a competitive economy, improved business environment and investment attraction.” He noted that historically Zanzibar has been the base for international trade.
The trade and investment priorities deliberated include
- Blue economy
- Women in Business
- Open skies
- Tourism recovery
- Free movement of capital
- Digital Payment Systems for SMEs
- Digitalization -ICT
- Trade Facilitation
- Academia private sector partnership
- Harmonization of Domestic Taxes in the EAC
- Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers
- Harmonization of Product Standards
- Mutual recognition of standards
- Lowering the Cost of Telecommunications in the EAC
- Intervention on COVID-19
- Free Movement of Workers in the EAC
- African Continental Free Trade Area and the Tripartite Free Trade Area
- Implementation of EAC Commitments by Republic of South Sudan and Admission of DR Congo to the EAC bloc.
- EAC Trade and Investment Agreements with 3rd parties
- Activation of the EAC Dispute Settlement Mechanism
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.