Regional Integration a top priority for Tanzania, Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation says
East African Community, Arusha, Tanzania, 12th June, 2021: Tanzania’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Hon. Amb. Liberata Mulamula, has reaffirmed Tanzania’s commitment to regional integration and enhancing intra-EAC trade.
Speaking during a private sector roundtable engagement dinner on EAC regional integration organized by the East African Business Council (EABC) in Dar es Salaam, the Minister said that in the spirit of enhancing intra-regional trade, Tanzania was revitalizing trade relations with her neighbours.
“We can all bear witness that the trade issues between Kenya and Tanzania have been addressed, and we are determined to ensure that such challenges do not arise in the future,” said Hon. Mulamula.
“The Government of Tanzania has earmarked regional integration as a top priority, and is set to facilitate trade by creating an enabling environment for business and investment,” said Amb. Mulamula.
The Minister commended the EAC and EABC for their close collaboration with the private sector in the region. “I congratulate you for the effort you are putting in in enhancing a private sector led regional integration agenda,” said the Minister.
At the national level, Amb. Mulamula commended the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA), for recognizing the talent, skill and contribution of women to trade.
“In this gathering, I witness gender parity, I am now confident that women are making strides in the private sector, and to that, I say well done!” she said.
On his part, the EAC Secretary General, Hon. (Dr.) Peter Mathuki pledged to work closely with the private sector in the region, adding that they were the key drivers to deeper integration.
“I want to assure you that I shall do all that is within my powers to ensure that the private sector plays its rightful role in the integration process,” said Dr. Mathuki.
Dr. Mathuki noted that the private sector was the engine of regional integration and therefore, there was need to bring to the table the challenges the sector encounters.
“It is only by addressing these issues that we shall be able to increase intra-regional trade from the current less than 15%, to at least 50% in the next five years,” he added.
The Secretary General further noted that in an effort to enhance trade and investment in the region, the EAC Secretariat had established a Private Sector Desk.
“The EAC Private Sector Desk will serve as an interface between the private sector and the Secretariat, thereby enabling the Secretariat to promptly address issues hampering regional trade,” said the SG.
The President of the TCCIA, Mr. Paul Koyi, said that for the EAC integration agenda to succeed there was need to ensure intra-regional trade is carried out in a borderless environment.
“For the private sector to flourish, there is need for an enabling environment, one which is free from trade barriers,” he said.
Under the theme “Enhancing a Private Sector led Integration & Emerging Opportunities in East Africa,” the EABC presented a list of key issues hampering trade in the region during the event.
The EABC singled out some of the pressing issues calling for urgent resolution including: finalization of the comprehensive review of the Common External Tariff (CET); harmonization of domestic taxes; harmonization of product standards, and; the activation of the EAC Disputes Settlement Mechanism.
Also present at the private sector round table engagement dinner were East African Legislative Assembly Speaker, Rt. Hon. Martin Ngoga, East African Court of Justice Judge President, Justice Nestor Kayobera, EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Planning and Infrastructure, Eng. Steven Mlote, EACJ Registrar, His Worship Yufnalis Okubo, and EAC Director of Human Resources and Administration, Ms. Ruth Simba.
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About the East African Community Secretariat:
The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of six Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
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