Monday, 11th March 2024: – The East African Community (EAC) – East African Business Council (EABC) Technical Working Group Meeting kicked off today to set out plans to increase intra-EAC trade to 40%. The private sector associations appealed for full enforcement of EAC laws and commitments agreed upon by governments instead of piecemeal implementation for intra-trade to thrive.

In his remarks, Mr. John Bosco Kalisa, EABC Executive Director called upon the EAC-EABC Technical Working Group to champion policy proposals set to increase intra-EAC trade from the current 15% to 40%. He elaborated that public-private dialogue and policy predictability are important to spur EAC economic growth in a bid to reduce poverty and inequalities.

Ms. Estella Aryada, GIZ Component Lead Trade in Services stated that GIZ is committed to partnering with the Government and the Private sector to strengthen structured dialogue to address bottlenecks in EAC integration. She called for new approaches to shape the EAC trade agenda in light of global, continental, and regional landscapes such as increased contribution of services to the EAC, youthful population, and inclusivity of women.

The EAC Deputy Secretary-General: Customs, Trade, and Monetary Affairs – Annette Mutaawe Ssemuwemba said, “Our drive should be evidence-based and uphold the unequivocal goodwill from the Heads of State to improve the business environment and attract investment.” She emphasized the importance of regional value chains development and integration into the AfCFTA and global supply chains.

Non-Tariff Barriers, Discriminative taxes, Rules of Origin, pre-budget consultations on Stay of Applications, Duty Remission & Common External Tariff, Trade Facilitation & Authorized Economic Operators, Standards and Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS), infrastructure development, EAC Single Tourist Visa, are among the policy areas of interest to reduce cost of doing business and position better the EAC bloc to take advantage of the 1.3 billion AfCFTA market.

Speedier implementation of EAC Common Market commitments by the Republic of South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Federal Republic of Somalia was recommended by the private sector associations.EABC Technical Working Group (TWG) Meeting convened 25 representatives from National Private Sector Associations in Burundi, DRC, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda to discuss trade policy issues and chart out advocacy proposals for the year 2024/25 in a bid to increase intra and extra EAC trade and investments. The EAC-EABC Technical Working Group is co-chaired by EABC Executive Director and EAC Deputy Secretary-General: Customs, Trade, and Monetary Affairs.

Published On: March 12th, 2024 / Categories: Highlights, News, Policy Updates, Private Dialogue News /