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Press Release

Visit of the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry, Mrs Monica Mæland

The Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry, Mrs Monica Mæland and an accompanying Norwegian business delegation will visit East African Community Headquarters on September 17, 2015. The purpose of the visit is to promote stronger commercial ties between EAC and Norway within sectors of mutual interest.

The Hon. Minister is expected to hold discussions with the EAC Secretary-General, Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera on among others, Trade related matters, and thereafter, witness the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the East African Business Council and Innovation Norway. Immediately after the signing of the MoU, the EAC Secretary-General and the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry will brief the press.

Members of the press are hereby invited to cover the visit and participate in the events.

WHAT: Visit of the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry, Mrs Monica Mæland

WHEN: Thursday, 17 September 2015

WHERE: EAC Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania

TIME: 3PM (East African Time)

Confirm your participation for this event latest by tomorrow 4pm to Mr Florian Mutabazi on Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Telephone: +255 753 288428

EAC Secretary-General meets with Indian Minister of State for Skills Development and Entrepreneurship

The Indian Minister of State for Skills Development and Entrepreneurship and a Special Envoy of the Prime Minister, H.E. Rajiv Pratap Rudy, over the weekend met the East African Community Secretary-General, Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

The Minister briefed Amb. Sezibera on the upcoming India-Africa Summit, which will take place in New Delhi in October this year and extend an invitation to EAC and other Regional Economic Communities to participate. Dr Sezibera appreciated the invitation from the Government of India and commended the ongoing preparation to host 3rd India-Africa Summit.

Meanwhile, the EAC Secretary-General briefed his guest on the latest developments in the regional integration process including implementation of the EAC Customs Union Protocol, Common Market Protocol and Monetary Union Protocol.

1st German-Africa Business Summit concludes in Berlin

The 1st German-Africa Business Summit held from 7–8th September 2015 and attended by the Secretary-General of the East African Community, Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera concluded in Berlin, Germany.

The Summit brought together over 500 German businesses and Federal Government senior officials that wish to prospect and facilitate acquisition of business opportunities in Africa.

Delivering a keynote address, Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs emphasised the need to improve the co-operation with African Governments towards economic co-operation from the traditional development co-operation.

He said economic co-operation will create jobs, reduce illegal migration, poverty levels and increase the market share of German businesses operating in sub-Saharan Africa. The Minister noted and commended the reforms achieved by the EAC within a short period of time that included the Customs Union, Common Market and the path towards the Monetary Union.

Participating at the “Panel of Honour”, the EAC Secretary-General stated that Africa had contributed to European growth through importation of manufactured goods and it was now time for Europe to contribute to Africa’s growth through strong economic partnerships.

While hosting the heads of delegations from the African Regional Economic Communities that included Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera, EAC Secretary-General, H.E. Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of African Union, H.E. Kadre Quedraogo, President of Economic Community of West African States and Dr Mbinkosi Mhlongo, Deputy Executive Secretary of Southern African Development Community, Dr Steinmeier highlighted the importance of including Digital Agenda in the current Development co-operation frameworks.

Amb. Sezibera expressed appreciation for the financial and technical assistance accorded to the EAC through the yearly contribution to the Partnership Fund, construction of the EAC headquarters in Arusha and visit by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, H.E. Joachim Gauck to EAC headquarters earlier this year.

The Africa Regional Economic communities’ heads of delegations discussed how to combat illegal immigration, terrorism and how to improve governance with Dr Steinmeier.

 

Courtesy call to the former President of German

Speaking with the former President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr Horst Kohler when he paid a courtesy visit, the EAC Secretary-General Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera expressed his appreciation for the extensive work done by the former president to support German businesses to set up operations in the EAC region and also his contribution to development work.

Dr Sezibera extended an invitation to Dr Kohler to deliver a keynote address during the upcoming Academia Public Private Partnership Forum organised by the Inter-University Council for East Africa that will be held from 22nd-23rd October in Kampala, an invitation which the former President accepted.

On his part, the former President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr Kohler hailed the reforms done by EAC to improve the business climate and to make it easier for German business community to enter the market. Dr Kohler noted that EAC region has to improve its vocational training for the young people, as the region gears up to became the manufacturing hub for Africa.

Dr Kohler emphasised that the German-Africa Business Summit was a noble initiative and he is looking forward to the Summit bridging the information gap that exist between German entrepreneurs and potential African business partners.

 

New Strategic Partnership between EAC-EABC and German Africa Business Association

EAC Secretary-General held a consultative meeting with the Chairman of German Africa Business Association, Dr Stefan Liebing and Manager for Eastern Africa, Asmau Nitardy. During the discussion, Amb. Sezibera noted that EAC region has a positive perception of German made products and the German business community should take advantage and set up operations in the region.

He added that the region offers some of the best incentives through preferential trade agreements for exports to European and US markets.

Dr Liebing expressed an interest in setting up a business information exchange portal between German and East Africa Businesses. The portal will exchange information on tenders available in the region and any new infrastructure projects.

He disclosed that German small and medium enterprises that employ between 1,500–5,000 staff members lacked information about business opportunities available in East Africa.

Dr Liebing also informed the EAC delegation of their strategic plan to start offering bundled solutions to private and public sector organisations in East Africa. This will allow them to compete with their counterparts from Asia.

EAC and the German Africa Business Association delegation agreed to set up a steering team that will conclude on a memorandum of understanding for creating a solid partnership in three core areas i.e. renewable energy, agro-chemicals and fertiliser, and pharmaceuticals.

 

East African Community investor’s forum

The EAC Secretary-General also attended an exceptional East African Community investor’s forum held at the closing of the Summit attended by 50 high net worth investors, hosted by the Regional Director for sub-Saharan Africa for the Federal Republic of German Government, Mr Georg Schmidt.

Mr Schmidt noted that the EAC is a shining example of a successful regional economic community in Africa and his conception of the expanded region would either include Somalia, Ethiopia, Southern Sudan or Madagascar.

Amb. Sezibera highlighted many attractive investment features but emphasised on two key areas which any serious investor would consider when scouting for the most attractive regional economic community. These include: a growing population of about 150 million people and the highest level of economic integration achieved in Africa.

According to the investors, EAC needs to sort out 4 key challenges to become the most attractive regional economic community in Africa among German investors: streamline border operations, regular engagement with German investors, improve ranking on the ease of doing business report and fast-track full implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol.

10th Meeting of the EAC Sectoral Council on Energy begins in Arusha

The 10th meeting of the East African Community Sectoral Council on Energy is underway at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

The Sectoral Council is being held through the sessions of the Energy Committee from Monday, 7th to Wednesday, 9th September 2015; the session of the Co-ordination Committee i.e. Permanent / Principal Secretaries on Thursday, 10th September 2015; and, the Ministerial session is on Friday, 11th September 2015.

The objective of the meeting is to review the progress made in the sector in implementing Council decisions and to consider other issues of regional importance in areas of New and Renewable Energy, Energy Conservation and Efficiency, Fossil Fuels as well as Power sub-sectors.

 

Accreditation

Journalists intending to cover the Ministerial session on Friday, 11th September 2015 are required to register with the EAC Media Coordinator, Mr Florian Mutabazi on Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Telephone: +255 785 288428

EALA to play more central role in implementation of Sustainable Development Goals

As the clock on the timeframe for Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ticks away, the regional Assembly is gearing up to take a more central role in the implementation of the Post 2015 Development Agenda through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

EALA Members have today commenced on a two day sensitisation workshop on promoting SDGs with a mantra to ensure the region realises the set objectives of reducing poverty, achieving food security and enhancing gender equality amongst other development initiatives.

Addressing the legislators, EALA Speaker, Rt Hon. Daniel F. Kidega maintained that Parliaments had a fundamental role to play in ensuring implementation of the SDGs.

“We must take a more prominent role in ensuring full realisation of the SDGs. I can guarantee you that the fate of the SDGs will be equally sealed if Parliaments do not enact their own action plans and take up the mantle on some of the relevant areas to their mandate”, Rt Hon. Kidega said.

The theme of the workshop is the “Role of EALA in implementing the SDGs: Promoting peaceful and inclusive Societies for Sustainable Development”.

The two day meeting brings together Members of EALA and resource persons from institutions working round the clock to ensure Africa’s concerns are taken on board fully when SDGs are rolled out.

The institutions are Society for International Development, Africa Platform and the Institute for Economic Affairs. Its objectives include updating the Assembly on the status and details of MDGs and the post 2015 plus 2063 and the Vision of the EAC.

The meeting also analyses performance at the EAC level, hindrances and challenges learnt from MDGs while focusing on EALA mandate in promoting good governance, transparency and accountability.

The sensitisation workshop is also to explore strategies to ensuring the Global Development Framework (Post 2015 Development Agenda) is implemented and realised.

The Speaker said that EALA would hold Partner States accountable and enhance its oversight role in the dispensation.

“For example, on legislation, can we check if each of our Partner States have enacted laws in the areas on SDGs? If the laws are in place, are they being implemented? Has the public been sensitised about these laws? How much have we budgeted for the effective implementation of laws?”

He noted that it was important for the East African Community to allocate and appropriate more resources in the area of SDGs. He remarked that EALA was keen to enact a regional piece of legislation relevant to the realisation of the SDGs.

The Head of the Africa Platform Secretariat, Paul Okumu remarked that it was time for African countries to fully implement laws and policies around development. He said a number of SDGs were in one way or another already encapsulated in policy frameworks.

“We need to understand that developing countries want to ensure an open democratic space where we can all make decisions and have a vote. This is why the arena such as SDGs that bring together all countries is vital”, he said.

He remarked that the continent may face challenges as the goals may be complex to realise.

“Some of the areas have not been completed such as that dealing with Climate Change”, he added.

Associate Director of Society for International Development, Ali Hersi said it was necessary to have concrete binding commitments from Partners. He said the role of EALA was key in ensuring concrete steps are realised as the region moves to the comprehensive development goals.

He noted that it was important for the Continent to take its place and mark its space in the Development Agenda dispensation.

Analysts contend that as the world transitions from a focus on MDGs to the more comprehensive SDGs, the need for effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels to achieve the goals will increasingly take centre stage.

The United Nations is expected to hold a global Summit in New York on 25-27th September 2015 to adopt the Post 2015 Development Agenda.

Lack of accountability has been identified as a major weakness in MDGs implementation. From the Paris Accord to Accra Declaration to the recent Busan statements, the international community has continued to express hope that countries’ institutions be sufficiently capacitated to ensure internal supervision of National Government’s international engagements.

Secretary-General on a working visit to Roofings Group Uganda

The Secretary-General of the East African Community, Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera, on Thursday paid a working visit to Roofings Group Uganda at its 2nd plant located in Namanve, Uganda’s upcoming Industrial Area on the outskirts of the capital, Kampala.

The Secretary-General was accompanied by Hon. Dr James Shinyabulo Mutende, Uganda’s Minister of State for Industry; Mr Dennis Karera, the Chair of the East African Business Council (EABC) and the Ag. CEO, Ms Lilian Awinja; Mr Hussein Omar, the EABC Uganda Chapter Chair; Dr Samuel M. Nyantahe, Chairman of Confederation of Tanzania Industries; Amb. Jean Rigi, Burundi’s Permanent Secretary for EAC Affairs; and, Commissioner Rona Sserwada from Uganda’s Ministry of EAC Affairs.

Welcoming the Secretary-General to the Plant, the Chairman and Managing Director of the Roofings Group, Mr Sikander Lalani, said it was gratifying that Amb. Sezibera’s visit to the plant came immediately after the 1st East African Manufacturing Business Summit held from 1st to 2nd September 2015 in the Ugandan capital.

Lalani said the deliberations at the Summit were all geared towards job creation for the youth, increasing value addition, quality assurance, enhancing tax revenues, fair trade and most importantly, boosting the region’s economic standing in the world.

Lalani told the Secretary-General of various issues that must be addressed at the regional level in order to boost the growth of the steel sector, namely: the need to increase the EAC Common External Tariff (CET) on galvanised wire to 25% in the region; and, the Re-bars to have either a fixed import tax rate based on volume at $250 EAC CET per tonne or based on value at 25% CET, whichever is higher.

The CEO also proposed removing cold rolled coils, galvanised coils and pre-painted coils from the duty remission schemes of Rwanda and Burundi. He also requested the region to put in place a robust quality assurance system by way of adopting regional standards in the steel sector as well as putting in place a level playing field in tax administration.

He further urged EAC Partner States’ governments to prioritise and enhance local / regional content for infrastructural and donor-funded projects as a way of promoting the Buy East Africa, Build East Africa campaign.

Lalani disclosed that the Group was employing people from the region without any discrimination, as long as they have the required skills and ability to deliver.

He also assured the Secretary-General that the firm was keen on investing in the entire region depending on the enabling environment in terms of import duty policies, level of playing field and availability of markets.

Minister of State for Industry, Dr Mutende assured the Secretary-General and investors in the region that Uganda Government was working to address all the issues impacting on her business environment including a reduction in energy costs.

EABC Chair, Mr Karera called for an urgent meeting of steel producers and stakeholders before the end of September 2015 to address the issues impacting on the sector business in the region, adding that a regional code of conduct was being developed and will be considered for adoption at the November EAC Heads of State Summit.

In his remarks, Amb. Dr Sezibera congratulated Mr Lalani for the massive and quality investment in Uganda and the wider East African region, adding that some of the issues raised were already being addressed by the EAC Secretariat, the EAC Council of Ministers and EABC.

On the issue of standards, Amb. Sezibera urged the Roofings Group to work closely with the EABC and the EAC Secretariat to sort them out.

EAC institution among top 20 World Water Cooperation Basins

The Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), an institution of the East African Community, ranks among the top 20 World Water Cooperation Basins, according to the Strategic Foresight Group’s Water Cooperation Quotient Index 2015. The Water Cooperation Quotient is a tool to measure intensity of co-operation in shared river and basins globally.

This was revealed by the LVBC Executive Secretary, Dr Canisius Kanangire, during the 15th Sectoral Council of Ministers Meeting (SECOM) for Lake Victoria taking place from 31st August to 4th September 2015 in Kisumu, Kenya. The Global Water Cooperation Quotient Index was launched on 11th August 2015 in Dakar, Senegal.

“This is a good piece of news from an independent and internationally reputable think tank”, said the LVBC Executive Secretary while addressing delegates from the five EAC Partner States.

Ministerial Meetings happening on an annual or bi-annual basis focused on water co-operation and policy guidance on managing shared water resources constituted part of the indicators and scoring criteria of the Water Cooperation Quotient Index.

Dr Kanangire said that such recognition was an indication of how well organised and focused the EAC was specifically in areas of joint co-operation and management, and development of shared trans-boundary resources.

He, however, noted though EAC economies were dependent on water which is a finite resource, adding that there were significant imbalances between sustainable water resources management efforts and water withdrawals for socio-economic purposes such as urbanisation, population growth demands, etc.

Addressing the Co-ordination Committee for Lake Victoria Basin and Group of Experts from the Ministries of Water and Environment from the EAC Partner States, Dr Kanangire described the depletion of global water as alarming noting that it was precipitated by the climate change.

According to Strategic Foresight Group’s Water Cooperation Quotient, the total annual renewable water resources available in the world is estimated to be 38,000 Billion Cubic Metres (BCM).

The total water withdrawal for this year is expected to be 3,800 BCM and 5,700 BCM in 2050. The reduction of the waters of Lake Chad and Lake Turkana are examples of how serious Africa’s water crisis is.

The SECOM for Lake Victoria is one of the forums through which EAC Partner States enhance co-operation for sustainable management of shared water and other natural resources.

The Chairperson of the Co-ordination Committee for SECOM, Engineer Mbogo Futakamba, who is also the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Water in the United Republic of Tanzania, commended LVBC for its efforts in managing EAC’s shared waters of Lake Victoria in a prudent manner.

Eng. Mbogo said co-operation was the most viable method for the sustainable management of shared water resources.

Agnes Yobterik, Director for Programmes, Projects and Strategic Initiatives from the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Republic of Kenya lauded LVBC for promoting, facilitating and coordinating development in the Lake Victoria Basin.

The 1st Manufacturing Business Summit held at Speke Resort, Munyonyo in Kampala, Uganda

The Kampala Resolutions on Manufacturing

  1. The 1st Manufacturing Business Summit was held in Kampala, Uganda at Speke Resort, Munyonyo on 1-2 September 2015. The Business Summit was officially opened by Rt Hon. Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda.
  2. The Summit was attended by H.E. Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, UNCTAD Secretary-General; Amb. Richard Sezibera, EAC Secretary-General; Hon. Amelia Kyambadde, the Minister for Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Uganda; Hon. Adan Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Industrialisation and Enterprise Development, Kenya; Hon. Tabu Abdallah Manirakiza, Minister for Finance, Burundi; Hon. Adam Kighoma Ali Malima, Assistant Minister for Finance, United Republic of Tanzania, Dr Joseph Mungarulire, representing the Minister for Trade and Industry, Rwanda; Mr Dennis Karera, East Africa Business Council (EABC) Chairman; and, Amos Nzeyi, UMA Chairman. The Summit was also attended by representatives from development partners and regional economic communities including: United Nations Industrial Development Organization, African Development Bank, Commonwealth Business Council, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, African Minerals Development Centre, World Bank, TradeMark East Africa, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, and South African Development Community.
  3. The 1st Manufacturing Business Summit was jointly organised by East African Community Secretariat and EABC, and hosted by the Government of Uganda. The forum ushered in a new dawn in the history of manufacturing in East Africa region as it brought together for the first time all shareholders in manufacturing under one roof to discuss the question of manufacturing and its role in deepening the integration.
  4. The forum made the following resolutions on this date of 2nd September 2015:
    1. To effectively utilise the available resources within the region for structural transformation of the manufacturing sector in key value chains, a regional special purpose vehicle that facilitates joint investment in capital intensive and flagship projects should be established (lessons can be drawn from Maputo Development Corridor, or Air-bus Project in the European Union). The framework should outline each countries comparative and competitive strengths in resources and inputs, and how EAC countries can collaborate and develop such strategic industries to avoid harmful competition and trade frictions.
    2. Public and private procurement is key to creating necessary demand for locally manufactured products as well as promoting technology-based business start-ups. To this end, the governments of East Africa Partner States and the private sector are called upon to prioritise in their procurement, the sourcing of locally manufactured products including agro-food, furniture, motor-vehicles, parts, apparel and footwear. The EAC Secretariat in collaboration with EABC should prepare a regional promotional strategy for the implementation of Buy East Africa, Build East Africa scheme.
    3. For the purposes of resolution No. 2, the EAC should formulate a regional Local Content policy, which clearly defines ‘local’ on a regional context to ensure that preferential treatment accorded to nationals are extended to all suppliers within the East Africa region.
    4. The EAC to formulate a regional policy for motor vehicles, textiles & apparel, and leather & footwear to create a coherent policy regime for the development of these sectors, which are crucial for employment creation, poverty reduction and advancement in technological capability.
    5. Acquiring appropriate skills suited to the needs of industry remains a major challenge contributing to youth unemployment. EAC in collaboration with EABC to a formulate a regional skill development and partnership programme targeting mainstreaming of apprenticeship, internship and graduate on-job training in school, technical and vocational education and training, and university curriculum.
    6. Energy (power) is a vital input into manufacturing constituting between 20-50 percent of the cost of production. The East Africa Partner States are called upon to take measures to reduce the cost of power to through: reforms in the energy / power sector to reduce power loss, permitting industries to generate their own power and supply excess to the national grid, and introducing energy efficiency and conservation measures in industries. To this end, EAC and EABC should organise a regional conference on “Competitive Energy Supply for sustainable Growth of Manufacturing in East Africa” to facilitate a consultative dialogue with all relevant stakeholders on measures to be adopted to enhance energy access and reduce power tariff for the manufacturing sector.
    7. The emerging industrialising countries such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) present EAC with immense opportunities for trade and industrial co-operation. The EAC should formulate a regional strategy for engagement with BRICS, with a view to leveraging and attracting Chinese investors, and positioning the region as ideal location for investors who have relocated from China due to rising labour costs.
    8. The EAC to enact a Community Law on anti-counterfeits and illicit trade and put in place an effective enforcement mechanism in order to deter imports, production, sales, and distribution of counterfeit and illicit goods in the East Africa market.
    9. The 2nd Manufacturing Business Summit to be held in September 2017, in Nairobi, Kenya at a date to be communicated. The EAC and EABC calls upon development partners and EAC Partner States to support convening of the 2nd Manufacturing Business Summit.

 

ADOPTED THIS DAY OF 2ND SEPTEMBER 2015 AT SPEKE RESORT, MUNYONYO IN KAMPALA, UGANDA

East African Manufacturing Business Summit and Exhibition kicks off in Kampala

The President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has said that Africa and many developing countries face the challenge of high and growing youth unemployment, which if not addressed can potentially be a source of instability as has been the case in North Africa.

The President, who was this afternoon officiating at the official opening of the 1st East African Manufacturing Business Summit and Exhibition 2015 (EAMBS’15) at the Speke Resort, Munyonyo in Kampala, Uganda said many African youth had lost lives as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea in search of employment opportunities in Europe.

In a speech read on his behalf by the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, President Museveni said “this is a painful lesson and we as leaders must think of a collective regional strategy to respond to unemployment including expanding the manufacturing sector capacity, promoting micro, small and medium enterprises and youth entrepreneurs.

President Museveni urged the private sector to invest sufficient funds in research, technology and innovation and called on both the public and private sectors to come up with a regional research, technology and innovation network to serve as a vehicle for fostering collaborative research and transfer of technology into the sector.

The President noted that EAC Partner States were giving high priority to the development of infrastructure and energy, which were critical for efficient operations of the manufacturing sector in particular, and facilitating business and cross-border investment. He said the regional target was to eliminate electricity supply deficits and achieve full interconnectivity of the region by 2017, making it (EAC) attractive for investment in heavy industries such as steel mills, petrochemicals, paper, cement etc.

“East Africa is on its way to become a regional hub for manufacturing and a gateway to investing in Africa”, said the President.

Uganda’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Hon. Amelia Kyambadde hailed the EAC Secretariat, East African Business Council and the private sector for initiating the Manufacturing Business Summit. She said the Summit creates a relevant regional platform for building partnerships for growth of cross-border businesses and also facilitate advocacy on the need to improve business environment for a competitive manufacturing sector.

Uganda’s Minister urged the private sector in the region to bring on board the youth as part of the aggressive apprenticeships, internships and other skills development programmes. She also urged the region not to forget Political Federation as the ultimate goal of the East African Community, as well as peace and stability, which will be able to consolidate the gains that are were being made in the regional integration process.

The Secretary-General of the EAC, Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera urged Partner States’ governments to take some tough decisions so as to turn the region into one viable economic entity by eliminating all barriers to the factors of production in the bloc; active involvement and commitment to industrialisation; and, financing of technology transfer and innovation.

“Governments in the region should also be bold enough to undertake investments in those areas where the private sector are afraid to venture into, as well as use of public preferential treatment to support locally manufactured goods, and the labour mobility by freeing labour market in the region”, said the Secretary General.

Amb. Sezibera said improving the business environment was critical, adding that the recent Kenya-Uganda sugar saga was the most unfortunate thing in the recent years of the integration process.

“Sugar produced in Uganda or in any of the Partner States is EAC sugar, there is no such a thing like Burundi avocado, Rwanda pineapple, Tanzania Rice, Kenya beef or Uganda sugar. These are all products produced within the EAC and are bound by the EAC Customs Union and Common Market protocols”, said Dr Sezibera.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, called for sustainable investment in an integrated manner in the region and noted that EAC was the gateway for Africa. Dr Kituyi said the region needs to model itself to the realities of the market, otherwise it will be left behind on the global market.

The Chair of the East African Business Council, Mr Dennis Karera, called for fast-tracking the harmonisation of domestic taxes, work permits and residence regimes within the bloc in order to improve on the business environment.

“In addition, governments need to improve road networks, do away with non-tariff barriers, and use the procurement system to promote local industries by providing opportunities for local sourcing so as to enhance the business environment and make the region competitive”, said Karera.

The Chief Executive Officer of Bidco Africa, Mr Vimal Shah said this was an exciting moment for region and EAC Partner States should start thinking of removing all the borders in readiness for rapid transformational change.

The two-day summit is running under the theme “Unleashing the Manufacturing Potential for Accelerated Development and Employment Creation in East Africa”.

Regional Economic Blocs key to attaining Pan-Africanism

Strong regional economic communities (RECs) are the key to Africa’s long term goal of creating a vibrant, united and prosperous continent.

South Africa’s High Commissioner to Tanzania and the East African Community, His Excellency Thamsanqa D. Mseleku, said his country was committed to the creation of strong and viable RECs across the entire continent, adding that RECs were the surest way to achieve the founding fathers’ dream of Pan-Africanism.

RECs are the first step to the African Union’s ultimate goal of creating an African Economic Community.

Amb. Mseleku said South Africa was keen to ensure that African countries build on the gains made in regional integration, democratisation, economic growth, good governance, security and political stability.

He noted that while Africa had made significant gains in these areas, there were still major challenges to be surmounted citing the situations in Burundi, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Somalia.

“On the economic front, there are sudden problems emerging in the world, which have a negative impact on African economies most of which are mainly resource-based”, he said.

The envoy said his country was open to increased cooperation and partnerships with the EAC, which he described as Africa’s fastest growing economic bloc.

Amb. Mseleku was speaking when he presented his credentials to the EAC Secretary-General (SG), Amb. Dr Richard Sezibera, at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. The High Commissioner was accompanied by Mr Manqoba Mdluli, the Third Secretary Political Affairs at the South African High Commission in Dar es Salaam.

In his remarks, Dr Sezibera hailed Amb. Mseleku on his appointment as South Africa’s High Commissioner to the EAC.

“We consider South Africa as a very strong partner of the EAC. South Africa is a strong leader in terms of Pan-Africanism. South Africa’s leadership cuts across regional economic blocs and countries”, said Dr Sezibera.

Dr Sezibera said the EAC was trying to form a Political Federation as its contribution to Pan-Africanism, the realisation of which he said would reverse the negative legacy of colonialism on the continent.

“We have a Customs Union, a Common Market and are working towards the attainment of a single currency for the region by 2024. We are also working together with the South African Development Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa to create a free trade area and to make it work”, said the SG, adding that he looked forward to South Africa providing leadership during the tripartite negotiations.

He said that for regional integration to succeed, big economies must be willing to make sacrifices more because in the end, they will be the biggest beneficiaries.

“There will be a temporary loss but big economies like South Africa, Kenya and Egypt will inevitably gain more in the end”, he said.

He praised South Africa’s efforts in trying to mediate a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Burundi and South Sudan.


East African Community
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