Tuesday, 14th September 2021 Arusha, Tanzania: – Mr. Ken Walsh, Senior Commercial Officer from the United States of America (USA) Commercial Service visited East African Business Council (EABC) and agreed on areas of partnership to boost East Africa –USA trade and investment ties.
In his remarks, Mr. Walsh stated that the USA has earmarked to bring a business delegation to visit East Africa in October 2022 to learn more about the investment opportunities in the bloc.
Mr. John Bosco Kalisa, Chief Executive Officer of EABC said, “EAC is open for investment and there is high political goodwill from the EAC Heads of State on promoting a business- friendly environment for investors in the region.”
He elaborated that the EAC offers a market of 177 million consumers and applauded the recent ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) by the United Republic of Tanzania. He stated that the EAC bloc will soon commence trading and accessing the 1.2 billion African market.
The EAC bloc benefits from preferential market access to the U.S under African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). In 2015, EAC and U.S signed Agreement on Trade Facilitation, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT). The EAC also initiated negotiations on EAC-US Investment Treaty and inaugurated EAC-US Commercial Dialogue.
According to International Trade Centre, in 2019 EAC imported goods valued USD.1.124 billion from the USA and exported USD.704 million. This value has declined to 963,010 and 681,299 respectively in 2020 due to disruptions by COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Kalisa urged for extension of the AGOA and kick start the negotiations EAC-US Free Trade Agreement in order to attract more investment into East Africa. He stated that AGOA has integrated the EAC bloc’s apparel sector into the global value chains.
Other areas discussed set to boost trade and attract more investment between East Africa and USA include: Investments in industrial parks, special economic zones, export processing zone, strengthening regional value chains to increase productive capacity, capacity building for women and young entrepreneurs on access to U.S market via AGOA, protection of East African natural capital, Implementation of EAC-US Commercial Dialogue; rolling out of EAC AGOA Barometer to identify challenges in accessing US Market, Agriculture development, East African Regional Tourism Expo October 2021 and East African Business and Investment Summit 2021.
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.