Thursday, 8th July 2021, Arusha Tanzania: East African private sector players are now set to benefit through prompt resolution and intervention of issues disrupting trade, following the launch of a regional Technical Working group (TWG).
The East African Community (EAC) and East African Business Council (EABC) Technical Working Group launched yesterday, at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania is tasked with receiving and synthesizing issues received from the private sector at various levels and advise on appropriate solutions.
The team will be chaired by EAC Director General for Customs and Trade, Mr. Kenneth Bagamuhunda and co-chaired by EABC CEO Mr John Bosco Kalisa. It will also entail members from the two institutions.
The team will be responsible for following up on challenges disrupting intra-EAC trade raised by businesses and support in their resolution by working with the relevant institutions and stakeholders.
Speaking during the launch ceremony, EABC CEO Mr. Kalisa urged the TWG to offer solutions on issues that impede cross-border business especially the Non-Tariff Barriers disrupting intra-EAC trade.
“We will work tirelessly in identifying issues hindering the free movement of goods in the region and scout for sustainable solutions in resolving them,” he said.
On his part, EAC Secretary General, Hon. Dr. Peter Mathuki, directed the TWG to be result-oriented by unlocking barriers to trade so that businesses feel the tangible benefits of the EAC integration.
He noted that the private sector is at the heart of integration and urged the TWG to reposition the bloc to fully take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and solutions on EAC economic recovery to drive growth in and post-pandemic era.
“The TWG should come up with a harmonized framework for a collective response by Partner States to COVID-19 in the region. A collective response in the region will guarantee economic recovery in a post-COVID era,” said Dr Mathuki.
EABC Board Director, Mrs. Mary Ngechu, appreciated and commended the EAC Secretary-General and EABC CEO for signing the Terms of Reference of the EABC-EAC Technical Working Group, terming this as a testimony of EAC’s commitment to deepening collaboration with the private sector.
In his remarks, East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Speaker Hon. Martin Ngoga said the private sector was taking its rightful place in regional integration through the signing of the TWG.
“EALA’s mandate is to provide the legal framework to actualize the aspirations of the people of East Africa. The Assembly pledges to fully support and participate in this initiative,” Mr Ngoga said.
The Technical Working Group’s role also include: to prepare a joint work plan on Private Sector development and follow up implementation; generate content for the SG Roundtable and CEO roundtable; supervise and report on EAC regional projects related to Private Sector support and to mobilize resources for activities of the TWG including on issues relating to Gender and Climate Change among others.
Mr John Bosco Kalisa
Executive Director /Chief Executive Officer
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 in the EAC.