23rd edition of the EAC MSMEs Trade Fair officially kicks off in Bujumbura
…with Burundi’s Vice President calling on Partner States to actively participate in events fostering collaboration and mutual benefit
East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 8th December, 2023: The 23rd Edition of the EAC Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Trade Fair, popularly known as the Jua Kali/Nguvu Kazi Exhibition, was officially opened today by the Vice President of the Republic of Burundi, H.E. Prosper Bazombanza.
Vice President Bazombanza said that the trade fair was a testament to the progressive success of economic and commercial integration among the EAC Partner States, emphasising its role in bridging technological gaps among artisans, micro-entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises in the region.
“This Trade Fair opens new market horizons for our artisans’ products and, at the same time, bridges the technological gaps that still exist among them through experience and knowledge sharing,” said the Vice President.
Vice President Bazombanza further said that the trade fair plays a critical role in contributing to socio-economic development, job creation and income generation throughout the region.
“This event is a clear sign of the progressive success of the economic and commercial integration of East African countries, and as such events like this one significantly impact the socio-economic development of our beloved Community,” added the VP.
The VP disclosed that the trade fair coincides with the launch of Burundi's National Implementation Strategy of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), providing significant opportunities for African businesses. VP Bazombanza further said that Burundi was committed to the vision of becoming an emerging country in 2040 and a developed nation by 2060.
In her remarks, Burundi’s Minister of Trade, Transport, Industry and Tourism, Hon. Marie-Chantal Nijimbere, said that the objective of establishing the Trade Fair back in 1999 was to develop the artisanal sector so that it offers employment to citizens of the Community and boosts the economy of the Partner States.
“It is our wish is that exhibitors participating in this year’s trade fair are showcasing products that not only adhere to the established standards, but have been processed within our Community and boast an abundance of both quantity and quality,” said Hon. Nijimbere.
Speaking during the occasion, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Customs, Trade and Monetary Affairs, Ms. Annette Ssemuwemba, who represented the EAC Secretary General, Hon. (Dr) Peter Mathuki, said that the MSMEs sector plays a crucial role in the region's economic development, contributing to poverty reduction, women's empowerment, and overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.
”MSMEs play an important role in closing the development gap through reduction of poverty, women empowerment, income distribution, enhancing productivity and innovation. The sector accounts for 65% of all the total persons engaged in employment and more than 15% of the GDP of the economy of the region,” she noted.
The Deputy Secretary General said that every year the trade fair provides a platform and opportunities for MSMEs form across the region to showcase their products, facilitate business to business engagement and information sharing on trade related matters.
The DSG said that MSMEs face challenges particularly with the multiplicity of regulatory frameworks both at national and regional levels among them Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs).
“We have put in place a number of measures to eliminate NTBS including the Time-Bound Programme and in an effort to further increase the momentum in addressing NTBs, the EAC has developed an EAC Elimination of NTBs Mobile Application (EAC NTBs App),” she added.
The 23rd EAC MSMEs Trade Fair, which runs from 5th to 15th December, 2023 at the Cercle Hyppique Grounds in Bujumbura, Burundi has attracted more than 1,000 artisans from all the seven (7) EAC Partner State.
The theme of this year's fair is "Connecting East African MSMEs to enhance Intra-EAC Trade," which aligns with the EAC Heads of State's goal to increase intra-EAC trade by 50%,
For more information and live coverage of the Trade Fair, please visit: www.eac.int/juakali
For more information, please contact:
Simon Peter Owaka
About the East African Community Secretariat:
The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of seven (7) Partner States, comprising the Republic of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Kenya, the Republic of Rwanda, the Republic of South Sudan, the Republic of Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. The Federal Republic of Somalia is in the process of becoming a full member of the Community after its admission into the EAC bloc by the Summit of EAC Heads of State on 24th November, 2023.
The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001: 2015 Certified