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Competition Experts Draft EAC Competition Authority Outreach and Advocacy Strategy

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 29th March, 2019: A four-days Competition Experts Consultative Meeting to draft the East African Competition Authority (EACA) Outreach and Advocacy Strategy (2019/20 – 2024/25) concluded today in Bujumbura, Burundi.

The 26th – 29th March, 2019 meeting was attended by Competition and Communication Experts from all the Partner States and staff from the EAC Secretariat.

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EAC undergoes third Joint Trade Policy Review by the World Trade Organization, 20th and 22nd March, 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland

East African Community Secretariat, 29th March, 2019:EAC Partner States are committed to the multilateral trading system and are therefore reviewed after every six years by the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Policy Review Mechanism.

It is in this context that the EAC Partner States underwent their Third joint Trade Policy Review from 20th to 22nd March, 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. The objective of the review is to achieve greater transparency in, and understanding of the EAC’s trade and trade related policies on the Customs Union and Common Market by the WTO Members and to enable a multilateral assessment of the adherence by EAC Partner States who are WTO Members, to the rules, disciplines and commitments made under the WTO Agreements.

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1st Steering Committee Meeting of EAC Market Access Upgrade Programme underway in Arusha

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 6th February, 2019: The 1st Steering Committee meeting of the East African Community (EAC) Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP) is currently underway at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

Officiating at the meeting’s session, the EAC Director General (DG) for Customs and Trade Directorate, Mr. Kenneth Bagamuhunda said that the overarching goal of MARKUP was to contribute to the economic development of the EAC by increasing the value of both extra- and intra-regional agricultural exports, focussing on exports to the European Union (EU).

“It is meant basically to promote increased regional and international trade through improved competitiveness, value addition for enhanced trade and investment,” said Mr. Bagamuhunda.

The DG commended the EAC Partner States for engaging in dialogue with the EU and other partners to guide the scope and approach to Market Access Upgrade Programme.

The DG, who spoke on behalf of the EAC Secretary General, Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko, said that the MARKUP would also enhance the capacity of the Community to take full advantage of the other free trade arrangements that are being concluded like the Tripartite COMESA-EAC-SADC Free Trade Area and the African Continental Free Trade Area.

He called for high level cooperation amongst the implementing agencies (GIZ, International Trade Centre and UN Industrial Development Organization), Partner States, the private sector, Project Coordination Unit (PCU), the EAC Secretariat, as well as the EU in order to ensure success of the project.

Addressing the same function, the Team Leader, Regional Cooperation at the EU Delegation in Tanzania, Mr. Jocelin Cornet, said the MARKUP was a pilot programme in the EAC-EU cooperation framework because it integrates national interventions complementing regional ones. Adding that the principle of subsidiarity was key to success in regional integration initiatives.

Cornet said that MARKUP was the first EU regional programme supporting the EAC Secretariat in developing key regional value chains and, in particular, a number of agro-industrial and horticultural products with high economic growth potential.

“We believe that sustainable cooperation programmes require clear ownership by our partners and last year's decision to fully integrate the MARKUP programme in the EAC decisional processes through the EAC Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment (SCTIFI) was to us a clear sign of ownership, which in itself deserves to be commended,” said Cornet.

He cautioned that MARKUP was a complex project which will require extra efforts in coordination in addition to wide consultations both at the national and regional level. Crucial in this will be the work of the programme's PCU, which he commended for the efforts in this initial phase.

The EU official further said that the setting up of appropriate governance mechanisms at the national level (like National Coordination Groups or Steering Committees) and the foreseen role of National Focal Points was equally very critical.

“Regional integration is not usually well understood by our citizens and therefore the need to put in place a well-coordinated and effective communication and visibility plan for MARKUP activities as this will ensure appropriate knowledge-sharing and buy-in from the many stakeholders,” said Cornet.

He expressed satisfaction with the work carried out so far by the main implementing partners in the EAC WINDOW, namely GIZ and International Trade Centre (ITC), and assured them and the Partner States WINDOW implementers (including UNIDO and the EAC Partner States) of EU’s trust and support and requested for quality results/outputs.

On his part, GIZ’s Senior Trade Advisor, Mr. Bernd Schmidt, said GIZ considers MARKUP as an important complement to the strong, positive and continued cooperation with the EAC Secretariat.

“MARKUP fits very well with the BMZ’s Marshall Plan with Africa which inter alia underlines that Africa must be more than the continent of raw materials. The economic policy which powers the German Marshall Plan focuses on diversification, the establishment of value chains targeted support for agriculture and SMEs and dismantling trade barriers,” said Schmidt.

Schmidt disclosed that GIZ will, among other things, coordinate activities aimed at improving the harmonization of standards and sanitary and phytosanitary measures in addition to closing implementation gaps.

The two-day meeting, which is being chaired by Rwanda’s Trade Negotiation and Cooperation Specialist, Mrs. Basemera Peace Mugisha, is considering the Report of the EAC-EU adhoc MARKUP Steering Committee meeting held from 27th to 28th February, 2018; MARKUP Progress reports on the EAC and Partner States Window, and: the Work plans under the Partner States Window.

The meeting is being attended by Permanent/Principal Secretaries from the Partner States’ line Ministries, officials from EU, GIZ, ITC, the East African Business Council and EAC Secretariat staff.

NOTES TO EDITORS

The East African Community (EAC) Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP) is a 4-year initiative funded by the European Union (EU), with co-financing from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation (BMZ) to the tune of Euro 39 million. It was launched on 20th June, 2018 at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. It covers, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. MARKUP addresses both the supply side and market access constraints of selected key export-oriented commodities: coffee, tea, cocoa, spices, avocados and other selected horticultural products. The overarching goal of MARKUP is to contribute to the economic development of the EAC region by increasing the value of both extra- and intra-regional agricultural exports, focussing on exports to the European Union.

This goal will be achieved through the realization of 4 key results:

  1. Improved capacity to advocate for the removal of sector trade barriers;
  2. Improved sector standards and harmonisation of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures;
  3. Enhanced export competitiveness for sector SMEs, and;
  4. Improved business development capacities for sector SMEs.

Delivery Approach

MARKUP has a two-pronged intervention approach:

  • EAC Window: Supporting the EAC Secretariat to co-ordinate selected region-wide policyregulatory and capacity building initiatives, and
  • Partner States Window: Supporting Partner States and stakeholders to implement country-specific or tailor made initiatives to address supply side and market access constraints.

The International Trade Centre (ITC) implements actions for Results 1, 3 and 4 of the EAC Window; while the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) implements actions for Result 2 and provides overall co-ordination of the Programme on behalf of the EAC Secretariat.

 

-ENDS-

For more information, please contact:

Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
EAC Secretariat
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: +255 784 835021
Email: OOthieno [at] eachq.org

About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. 

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001:2008 Certified

 MSMEs advised to patent their innovations and products

East African Community Secretariat, Arusha, Tanzania, 11th December, 2018: Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the East African Community have been advised to patent their products and innovations to prevent theft of the same by unscrupulous persons.

Uasin Gishu Senator, Professor Margaret Kamar, further said that it was only through patenting that East African products would not be misused and abused.

Prof. Kamar gave the example of the kiondo basket, which was a Kenyan innovation that had been patented in Japan, adding that any Kenyan who wanted to produce the same had to ask for permission from the patent owners.

Prof. Kamar said Kenya was one of the first countries in Africa to pass intellectual property laws and urged Kenyan innovators to take advantage of this law to protect their products and ideas against theft.

She said value addition to minerals and raw agricultural produce was a must if African countries were to reap maximum benefits from its exports their trading partners in Europe, North America and Asia.

Prof. Kamar called for the elimination of middlemen so that African products could directly access markets in Europe and the USA, adding that EAC governments should also promote African apparel and textiles by making it mandatory for employees to wear the same for at least three days of the week.

“Our future in EAC is to promote our own goods. The balance of trade with the outside world is still very huge and we need to bridge that gap,” said Prof. Kamar.

Senator Kamar was speaking at the Eldoret Sports Club grounds in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, Kenya, when she presided over the official closing ceremony of the 19th EAC Annual Jua Kali/Nguvu Kazi Exhibition. The exhibition opened its doors on 2nd December, 2018 and drew more than 1,500 exhibitors from five EAC Partner States, namely Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.

In her remarks, the Deputy Director of Trade in the Ministry of Trade, Industrialization and Cooperatives, Kenya, Ms Gladys Kinyua, called on EAC Partner States to establish One Stop Shops for MSMEs in the capital cities to enable them to move their products freely within the region.

Ms Kinyua, who represented the Principal Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Chris Kiptoo, further urged the EAC Secretariat to create a website where MSMEs in the region could market their products to the world freely.

Speaking at the event, the Uasin Gishu County Executive Committee for Trade, Dr. Emily Kogos, urged EAC governments to support MSMEs saying that they were the foundation for industrialisation in East Africa.

The Director of Trade at the EAC Secretariat, Al Hajj Rashid Kibowa, described the 19th Exhibition as the best and biggest ever, adding that innovators had sold their products, struck deals and built networks with some procuring orders for delivery.

“We take MSMEs seriously because they will be the starting point for investment and industrialisation in the region,” said Al Hajj Kibowa.

-ENDS-

For more information, please contact:

Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
EAC Secretariat
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: +255 784 835021
Email: OOthieno [at] eachq.org

About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. 

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001:2008 Certified

 Intra-EAC Trade still very low, says EAC Official

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 6th December, 2018: Intra-regional trade within the East African Community is currently very low standing at just less than 20%.

The Director of Trade at the EAC Secretariat, Alhajj Rashid Kibowa, said that this was extremely low compared to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) where intra-regional trade levels stand at 46% and the EU at approximately 67%.

Alhajj Kibowa disclosed that from next year onwards, the exhibitors and their stalls at the Annual EAC Jua Kali/Nguvu Kazi Exhibition and Symposium will not be arranged according to the Partner States but according to product sectors to enhance information sharing, inter-sectoral/product benchmarking, and striking business deals amongst the exhibitors.

In the previous and ongoing 19th exhibition, exhibitors and their stalls have been arranged according to Partner States and in alphabetical order.   

Alhajj Kibowa, who was addressing participants attending a symposium on Products Value Addition taking place on the sidelines of the 19th EAC Jua Kali/Nguvu Kazi Exhibition at the Eldoret Sports Club, decried the low levels of intra-EAC trade.

“Partner States need to take advantage of regional integration initiatives like this Jua Kaliexhibition in order to scale up trade amongst themselves, otherwise the statistic is still lower but with a lot of potential for expansion,” he said.

The Director further said that that unlike the earlier exhibitions, the ongoing exhibition and future ones would be complemented with a strong daily symposium purposely to empower the exhibitors with knowledge, skills and attitudinal change needed for the growth of the informal sector.

Earlier, the Managing Director of J&L Enterprises, Mrs. Louise Judicate Mosha made a presentation on Product Value Edition to an enthusiastic audience composed mainly of women entrepreneurs from the Partner States at the exhibition.

Mrs. Mosha, a Tanzanian who owns the Dar es Salaam-based Company dealing with Agro-processing and Handicrafts, took the participants through her practical experience in product value addition and becoming a successful entrepreneur.

She said J&L Enterprises started by making candles but has now graduated and spread its product chain to include agro-processing and handicrafts.

Answering questions raised on packaging, value addition and standards by the participants, the EAC Principal Standards Officer, Mrs. Stella Apolot, said that packaging was an integral part of value addition as it contributes to the safety, quality, acceptance and competitiveness of the products before the consumers.

She said packaging technology ranges from simple to complex ones in terms of the safety requirements and design, amongst others, and that products have different packaging requirements to ensure that the design is right and the quality is right in protecting the integrity of the product being packaged.

“Packaging industry in the EAC is less developed and remains a big challenge for most small and medium enterprises in identifying the right packaging and the costs involved,” said Mrs. Apolot.

On Food Additives, the EAC Principal Standards Officer said that they play a big role in value addition to achieve customer quality requirements. As component of food, food additives are subject to pre-market approval by by experts qualified by scientific training and experience to evaluate their safety under the conditions of intended use.

“Food additives, despite being a necessity in value addition, may trigger allergic reactions and possibly lead to other serious health issues” and therefore MSMEs need to know the recommended food additives and quantities for each product and the information is readily available at Codex Allimentarius Commision website http://www.fao.org/fao-who-codexalimentarius/codex-texts/list-standards/jp/; “Codex Standards for Food Additives,” said the Standards expert. 

The daily symposium continues with the Republic of Rwanda expected to make a presentation on Standards, Quality Assurance, Metrology and Testing (SQMT) on Thursday, 6th December, 2018; Uganda will present on Benefits and opportunities from EAC integration to SMEs on Friday, 7th December, 2018; Burundi will tackle EAC Rules of Origin on Saturday, 8th December, 2018; while the Republic of South Sudan will present on MSMEs development on Sunday, 9th December, 2018.

Earlier on 3rd December, the Republic of Kenya made a presentation on cross-border trade; simplified trade regime and tackling non-tariff barriers (NTBs). Kenya’s Anti Counterfeit Agency also made a presentation on the same day. The United Republic of Tanzania made a presentation on Product Value Addition.

The daily symposium starts at 10.00 am and continues until midday at the Show ground.

-ENDS-

For more information, please contact:

Mr Owora Richard Othieno
Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
EAC Secretariat
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: +255 784 835021
Email: OOthieno [at] eachq.org

About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. 

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001:2008 Certified

 


East African Community
EAC Close
Afrika Mashariki Road
P.O. Box 1096
Arusha
United Republic of Tanzania

Tel: +255 (0)27 216 2100
Fax: +255 (0)27 216 2190
Email: eac@eachq.org