Public Private Dialogue

The East African Business Council (EABC) is a key convener of high‐level regional Public‐Private Sector Dialogue fora and has “Observer Status” at the East African Community level. The East African Business Council has a broad membership of private sector and play a critical role in representing and voicing concerns of businesses in EAC policy formulation & negotiation at technical, ministerial and presidential levels. EABC holds High-Level Public-Private Dialogues with the EAC Heads of State Summit and Council of Ministers. 

Public Private Dialogue  

  • Raise important private sector issues to the Government’s agenda 

  • Increase the policy desirability and feasibility of reforms needed  

  • Building a constituency to advance reforms 

  • Exchange experiences between private sector and government officials  

The East African Community (EAC) remains the continent’s fastest-growing region. The region experienced tremendous growth in intra‐regional trade in the last decade, growing from a value of $1.5 billion in 2005 to $5.1 billion in 2015, the highest level being $5.8 billion in 2013. The primary factor that drove growth between 2005‐2015 was the deepening of regional integration. This saw a gradual reduction of trade barriers, notably a reduction of tariffs that increased the scale and scope of opportunities for trade and investments in the EAC. The region is poised to expand even further with the development of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) and the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The region, however, started witnessing sluggish performances towards the end of 2015 where intra-EAC trade declined by 19.5%. However, exports to COMESA, excluding the EAC Partner States, increased by 2.9%. The level of FDI into EAC is still low as a percentage of global FDI inflows, despite progress in creating a more conducive investment climate in the Partner States.

Inadequate trading regimes restricted the export of certain commodities, and lack of product diversification and the existence of NTBs hampered intra-regional trade. (EAC Trade and Investment report, 2016)

Barriers to trading across borders such as multiple product standard inspections and bureaucratic trade procedures delay business transactions and increase the cost of doing business.

Reduced vigour for regional integration is indicative of the need for the private sector to play a more proactive role in building consensus, sustaining political buy‐in and strengthening commitment to resolving trade and investment issues in the EAC.

Figure 1: Rankings on Doing Business topics – East African Community (EAC)

Regional average ranking (Scale: Rank 190 center, Rank 1 outer edge) Source: Doing Business database

Figure 2: Total intra-EAC Imports, 2013-2017 (US$ million)

Source: Partner States Revenue Authorities, Central Banks and National Statisitcs Offices
Location :
EAC Partner States (Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda)

Project Partners

The project fosters closer collaboration across TMEA project teams and Implementation Partners through a Coalition approach.

Lead Coalition Implementing Partner:

East African Business Council

Main Coalition Implementing Partners:

  • Federal Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Burundi (CFCIB)
  • Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA)
  • Private Sector Federation Rwanda (PSF-R)
  • Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF)
  • Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU)
  • South Sudan National Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (SSNCCIA)

Other Partners:

  • East African Freight Forwarder Associations (EAFFA)
  • Shippers Council for Eastern Africa (SCEA)
  • East African Trade Confederation Union (EATCU)
  • East African Grain Council (EAGC)
  • East African Chambers of Commerce Industry & Agriculture (EACCIA)
  • East Africa Renewable Energy Association (EAREA)
  • COMESA Business Council
  • Corporate Council on Africa (CCA)
  • Confederation of Danish Industry (CDI)

Government Partners:

East African Community Organs and Institutions

Development Partners:

TradeMark East Africa

To strengthen and sustain EAC’s trade and investment, it is critical that an enabling environment is in place to guarantee growth and predictability. Public‐Private Dialogues plays a crucial role in addressing constraints, providing short‐term stimulus with long‐term impact and contribute to economic growth and poverty reduction.

The East African Business Council (EABC) is a key convenor of high‐level regional Public‐Private Sector Dialogue forums with an “Observer Status” at the EAC level. The East African Business Council is the lead coalition implementing partner of the EABC-TMEA project “Integrating Public-Private Sector Dialogue (PPD) for Trade and Investment – Regional programme given its vast membership spread and mandate which plays a critical role in representing and voicing concerns of business at EAC policy level. Under the project, the East African Business Council coordinates, sets the agenda and facilitates evidence‐based research on Public-Private Dialogues in a bid to reduce barriers to trade in the EAC region.

Outcomes and expected results

  1. Reduced NTBs: Improved, coordinated reporting and resolution of NTBs along the corridors
    • NTBs reported and presented to policymakers for elimination
    • Policy position paper with private sector proposals on the NTB Act and regulations amended and adopted
  2. Improved Trading Standards: Improved harmonization and adoption of regional standards/ Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS)
    • EAC reports on developed, approved and declared standards and SPS measures
    • Position papers on standards and SPS developed and presented to policymakers

  3. Improved Trade Regulatory Environment: Improved adoption and harmonization of Customs and Domestic Tax-related policies among the EAC Partner States

    • Customs and domestic taxes position papers developed and presented to policymakers
    • Ratification commitments by Burundi and Tanzania on the Elimination of Double Taxation Agreement made.
  4. Effective Trade Systems and Procedures: Improved trading systems and procedures amongst the EAC Partner States

    • Trade facilitation recommendations developed and adopted
    • World Trade Organisation Trade Facilitation Agreement commitments are implemented by the EAC Partner States
  5. Strengthened Institutional capacity on policy advocacy and organizational operations

    • Policy advocacy training modules developed and deployed to EABC staff
    • East African Private sector charter developed
    • EABC Operational manuals developed
    • Sectoral specific desks established
    • Business Support services developed
    • EABC Strategic plan reviewed


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