East African Business Council and Innovation Norway sign Memorandum of Understanding
The Norwegian Minister for Trade and Industry, Ms Monica Mæland, and the Secretary-General of the East African Community, Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera, today witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the East African Business Council (EABC) and Innovation Norway at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
The MoU was signed by Innovation Norway’s Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Anita Krohn Traaseth, while EABC Chairman Dennis Karera signed on behalf of his organisation.
Under the MoU, which will be effective for a period of five years, EABC and Innovation Norway agreed to work together on various agreed upon priority areas including trade facilitation; joint activities that are beneficial to both institutions including conferences, trade missions (both international and regional); and, business to business engagement both in EAC and Norway and the Nordic countries.
Some of the main areas of co-operation will be in the petroleum and education sectors with the latter focusing on the information and communication technology sector. The two parties further agreed to increase market access through information sharing; promote investment in both regions; and, capacity building and technical assistance.
EABC and Innovation Norway also undertake to jointly: work together to advocate for beneficial trade and good investment climate in the two regions; work together to develop business to business engagement to enhance business partnerships and networking; and, exchange information on business opportunities in both regions.
Earlier on, the Norwegian Minister for Trade and Industry, Ms Monica Mæland, and the EAC Secretary-General, Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera, held bilateral talks on possible areas of cooperation between Norway and the EAC.
The talks focused on the upcoming negotiations between the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) and the EAC. The Secretary-General informed Ms Mæland that the EAC Council of Ministers was quite positive about the negotiations with EFTA. EFTA is an inter-governmental organisation which comprises Ireland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Founded in 1960, it promotes free trade and economic integration among its Member States.
EFTA Member States have expressed interest in strengthening ties with the EAC Partner States and have proposed a Joint Declaration on Co-operation between the two Parties. It is hoped that the Joint Declaration on Co-operation will be signed in November this year.
Also present at the function were the Norwegian Ambassador to Tanzania and the EAC, Ms Hanne-Marie Kaarstad; EAC Deputy Secretary-General (Planning and Infrastructure) Dr Enos Bukuku; Director-General Customs and Trade, Mr Peter Kiguta; and, other senior officials.