EAST AFRICAN PRIVATE SECTOR URGED TO STEER INTRA-EAC TRADE TO 50%
Wednesday, 18th August 2021: – The East African Business Council Chief Executive Officer, Mr. John Bosco Kalisa has urged the EAC to eliminate Non Tariff Barriers (NTBs), finalize the Common External Tariff review and spearhead regional vaccination drives to fast track economic resilience and rebound.
Speaking during the CEO Round Table Engagement on EAC Regional Integration organized by the East African Business Council in partnership with the Federation of German Industries and sponsorship of KCB Bank Tanzania, Mr. Kalisa said that Kenya’s imports from Tanzania grew by nearly 75% in the six months to June 2021 compared to 2020 after its exports to Kenya hit a high of USD. 167 million. He commended the EAC Secretariat for establishing a hotline to report NTBs at the borders.
He stated that deeper commitment in the EAC regional agenda is now more important than ever, to enable East Africa businesses to tap into the Common Market and new markets of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the African Continental Free Trade Area.
The Chief Guest, Hon. Dr. Peter Mathuki, Secretary-General of the EAC, urged the private sector to be at the center and forefront in steering intra-EAC trade from the current 15% to 50% by 2025.
Hon. Dr. Mathuki said, the EAC Secretariat has prioritized trade and investments, review of Common External Tariff, elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers, liberalization of trade in services, air transport, economic recovery post-COVID-19 and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) to spur the region’s private sector growth and economic prosperity.
The EAC Secretary-General stated that the round table is an important platform for the private sector and EAC to deliberate on opportunities, challenges and propose solutions to deepen the EAC regional integration further. He further said, “ a friendly business policy and regulatory environment that considers the opinions and recommendations of the business community will promote national and regional interests.”
On his part, Hon. John Vianney Mongella, Regional Commissioner of Arusha, said “Tanzania has recorded outstanding intra-EAC trade performance as it registered trade surplus with Kenya and Uganda, signaling improved trade flows under the leadership and administration of H.E. President Samia Suluhu.”
Hon. Mongella said that the Arusha region as a diplomatic and tourism hub is hit hard by the pandemic and committed to work in close partnership with the private sector to navigate from resilience, recovery, growth in the new reality.
On her part, Ms. Judith Lubuva, KCB Bank Branch Manager Northern Zone said “KCB Bank Tanzania is the eldest and leading bank in East Africa, providing financial solutions to businesses both large and SMEs.” She welcomed the business community to take up the different financial solutions offered by KCB Bank on the cross-border trade and tourism sector to support their business recovery and growth.
The EAC Secretary-General applauded Serengeti Breweries Ltd, British Business Group, Tanzania Cigarette Company, A to Z Textile Mills, Lodhia Group of Companies, ALAF Ltd, Confederation of Tanzania Industries, Coca-Cola Kwanza Ltd and Juanco Group Ltd being part of “EABC- Voice of the East African Private Sector” and awarded them with EABC membership certificates.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Kalisa stated that EABC is committed to continuing advocating for an EAC regional coordinated COVD-19 approach for increased intra-EAC trade and investments and saluted the EAC Heads of State for facilitating and permitting the movement of cargo across the region amidst the pandemic.
The EABC CEO Round Table was attended by over 70 industry captains including. Chairman Chimbulo of Tanzania Tour Operators Association, Mr. Anup Modha of the Confederation of Tanzania Industries, members of Tanzania Chambers of Commerce Industries and Agriculture (TCCIA), Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), Tanzania Horticulture Association (TAHA) Tanzania Local Tour Guide Operators and Development Partners – German Development Cooperation (GIZ), TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) & European Union.
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.