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Arusha, Tanzania. As a true strategic partner to EAC integration process, the East African Business Council (EABC) had the opportunity to participate at the 20th Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State. EABC has an Observer Status at the EAC and is recognized as a champion of private sector interests in the region in accordance with the EAC Consultative Dialogue Framework (CDF).   

Led by EABC Chairman Mr. Nicholas Nesbitt, EABC Board Directors actively participated and represented members of the business community in the region at the 20th Ordinary Summit of the East African   Community Heads of State at the Arusha International Conference Centre, in the United Republic of Tanzania. 

H.E President Paul Kagame of Rwanda took over from H.E President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda as the new Chair of the Summit while the United Republic of Tanzania took over as rapporteur from Rwanda. 

In his remarks as outgoing Chairperson of Summit H.E President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni hinted that the private sector in the EAC region would not grow unless the EAC solves high cost of doing business in the region. He said the high cost of doing business is mainly caused by the following: High cost of power and shortage; high transport costs; low productivity of labour and high-interest rates. 

Rt. Hon Kijevinja, Chair of the EAC Council of Minister informed with the Summit of the EAC heads of State that he witnessed the opening of the new headquarters for the Private sector in the region. 

“Your Excellencies, I want to report that yesterday I witnessed the headquarters of the private sector in the region here in Arusha, Tanzania, “said Rt. Hon Kijevinja. 

Rt. Hon. Kijevinja, welcomed EABC Chairman, Mr. Nesbitt to the podium to address the Summit on private sector agenda in regard to the EAC regional integration process. 

In addressing the 20th Ordinary Summit of EAC Heads of State, Mr.Nesbitt, EABC Chairman appreciated, the work done in the last few days in addressing some of the issues hindering business growth and expansion in the region, in particular, Non-Tariff barriers of which out of 65 NTBs 42 have been successfully resolved. 

“My board who is up here from the East African Business Council we have had a very intense deliberation around what is going to take to be successful in East Africa.  I think if we really get into the heart of it; it’s ensuring that we think regional before we think national, that is very difficult in the heat of the moment, I know private sector influences trade policies selfishly,” said Mr. Nesbitt. 

He stressed that the East African Business Council strives to bring an East African perspective and the drive to manufacture and embark on regional value chains. 

“As East African Business Council, we are paying a lot of attention to the drive to produce! We want to be producers of value! We don’t want to be traders, ”said Mr. Nesbitt. 

He highlighted the need to boost for regional value chains in a bid to reduce the trade deficit with the rest of the world and promote EAC industries to fully capture the East African Common Market of over 150 million people. 

“If, for example, Kenya is going to manufacture or assemble, let me say,  German vehicles in Thika. Why can we have tires from Tanzania, exhaust pipes from Uganda, dashboards from Burundi, so this becomes an East African car, not just a Kenyan car?” said Mr. Nesbitt. 

He emphasized regional value chains will improve regional thinking; support the ‘Buy East African, Build East Africa’ campaign thereby reduce Non-Tariff Barriers. 

“Our vision for the private sector is to let the trucks rumble through Namanga border without stopping. We will use the technology to ensure things are done properly,” said Mr. Nesbitt. 

He noted the need to promote the youth and entrepreneurs by removing barriers to trading across borders, to enable local investors to get economies of scale and additionally foreign investors to see the East Africa Community for what it is, the 150 million people market. 

In his closing remarks, Mr. Nesbitt appreciated the Heads of State for the opportunity to speak and urged them to partner with the private sector. 

“We employ and urge  we as the private sector to get a seat at the table, we have been observers for a long time. We would like to get out of the proverbial stance and come into the field and help in the formulation of trade policies. We want to participate as our heart is in the same place as the legislators,” stated Mr. Nesbitt. 

The  20th Ordinary Summit of EAC Heads of State has rejuvenated vigor for the EAC regional integration process through directives from the Heads of State to implement all outstanding decisions of the Summit; and ratification of all outstanding protocols. Furthermore, the Summit has enhanced dialogue between policymakers and the private sector on EAC regional integration process through commitment from EAC Secretary General and New Chairperson of the Council of Ministers to continue mutual dialogue with East African Business Council. Attached is the Communique of the 20th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State 

Many thanks to TradeMark East Africa supporting the East African Business Council’s involvement in the 20th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and all our partners (GiZ, BDI, ITC) for the continued support to reposition the EABC as the voice and the advocacy platform for the private sector in the EAC integration process in a bid to increase trade and investments in the region.

The Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) has digitized about 60% of its processes to improve the ease of doing business in the Country. Digitization of processes at URSB will enable companies to register in under an hour with more than 50% of the registration costs slashed.

URSB Registrar General, Mr. Bemanya Twebaze said during the launch of the simplified memorandum and articles of association for companies on Friday, 1st February 2019 in Kampala that the digitization is intended to improve reliability, predictability and access to company registration information and simplifying business registration.

For more information on how to register your company, visit https://ursb.go.ug/business-registration-2/

 

Global Peace Leadership Conference 2018

Uganda will in August this year host the Global Peace Leadership Conference 2018.

The three day strategic high level summit will build consensus on response towards pressing regional and international challenges guided by a shared vision, principles, aspirations, and an innovative values based approach to improving the economy, education, security, leadership at all levels of society, youth productivity, and women empowerment as well as address community development needs.

The conference will run from August 1st – 3rd at Commonwealth Resort Hotel Munyonyo.

In order to popularise the event, President Yoweri Museveni and former Zanzibar President Abeid Karume on Thursday launched a mobile Application and Website for people to download and get the information about the conference on their mobile phones.

Officiating at the launch, President Museveni lauded the initiative and pledged government support. He however stressed the need for moral uprightness if the Great lakes region is to achieve peace.

“Moral uprightness is key because immoral or corrupt people cannot create peace,” he observed.

On the other hand, former Zanzibar President Abeid Karume said a peace conference is timely when the region is conflict ravaged.

The conference will run under the theme, “Moral and Innovative Leadership (New Models for Sustainable Peace and Development)”

It will attract the participation of Heads of State, First Ladies, Religious leaders, Cultural leaders, Entrepreneurs, Youth, Innovators, Women, Community organisers, Development partners, Celebrities, Teachers, Policy makers, Media, Environmentalists and Civil Society Organisations.

EABC celebrates 20 years, awards outstanding companies

November 2017 marked the attainment of EABC’s 20th Anniversary since its formation in 1997, a milestone to celebrate 20 years of dedicated advocacy for the Private Sector in East Africa and to showcase companies that have taken advantage of the EAC Regional Integration process, doing business across the EAC region.

The first edition of the EABC Business Excellence Awards, were launched on 10th January 2018 at Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. The EABC Business Excellence Awards aim to recognize and showcase businesses that have achieved excellence in various aspects of their operations across the East Africa, keeping with the spirit of the East African Integration.

The winners of the first edition of the EABC Business Excellence Awards were announced and feted during the grand gala dinner at Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. The award ceremony took place on the evening of 23rd March 2018, after the high- level conference themed “Beyond East Africa – Moving from Aspiration to Action” as the culmination of the series of events organized to celebrate EABC 20th Anniversary.

EABC also awarded past chairpersons, development partners and high-level policy decision makers, to recognize their support towards EABC’s advocacy work over the last 20 years, as well as outstanding & distinguished service rendered to the Private Sector in their various capacities and responsibilities.

The winners of the EABC Business Excellence Awards 2018 earned the ultimate business accolade of business excellence among peers in the East African region.

The winners of the EABC Business Excellence Awards 2018 are:

Overall  Award

EABC Chairman’s Award – Overall Best Regional Company.

  • Equity Group Holdings – Winner
  • Mabati Rolling Mills -1st Runner Up
  • Chandaria Industries -2nd Runner Up

Corporate Awards – Sector Categories

Best East African Company – Building & Construction

  • Savanna Cement Limited – Winner
  • Roofings Group -1st Runner Up
  • Steel & Tube Industries Limited-2nd Runner Up

Best East African Company – Financial Services

  • KCB Group Limited- Winner
  • Equity Group Holdings Ltd-1st Runner Up
  • UAP Old Mutual Group-2nd Runner Up

Best East African Company – Media Company

  • Nation Media Group- Winner

Best East African Company – Transport And Logistics Company (Including Airline)

  • Siginon Group Limited- Winner

Corporate Awards – Cross Cutting Category

Best East African Company – Services Sector  

  • Vehicle and Equipment Leasing Limited- Winner
  • CV People Tanzania-1st Runner Up
  • East Africa Tea Trade Association-2nd Runner Up

Best East African Company – Manufacturing

  • Bidco Africa Ltd- Winner
  • Chandaria Industries-1st Runner Up
  • Mabati Rolling Mills-2nd Runner Up

Best East African Company -SME

  • Kentaste Products Limited- Winner
  • Efa Product Solution-1st Runner Up
  • Water Access Rwanda-2nd Runner Up

Best East African Company – Woman Owned Enterprise           

  • Aloesha Organic Natural Health Product- Winner
  • Benchmark Solutions Limited-1st Runner Up
  • Mohazo Eximpo Limited-2nd Runner Up

Best East African Company – Corporate Social Responsibility           

  • Equity Group Holdings- Winner
  • Bamburi Cement-1st Runner Up
  • The New Forests Company-2nd Runner Up

Best East African Company- Green Economy

  • Bidco Africa Ltd- Winner
  • Kakira Sugar Limited-1st Runner Up
  • KCB Group-2nd Runner Up

Best East African Company – Innovation

  • Safaricom- Winner
  • Bidco Africa Ltd-1st Runner Up
  • Savannah Cement Ltd-2nd Runner Up

The winners of the EABC Business Excellence Award 2018 have shown expertise and leadership in their respective business sector. Indeed, the awards will provide extra mileage in their marketing efforts and add more value to their brand as they  continue doing business across the region.

East African Community (EAC) central bank governors have assured the region that big progress towards the establishment of a Monetary Union is visible.

In late 2013, EAC countries (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi) signed a joint protocol setting out the process and convergence criteria for an EAC Monetary Union. 
The signing of the protocol represents a step towards regional economic integration. 
The signing follows ratification of the protocols for a Customs Union (2005) and the Common Market (2010). The EAC Monetary Union forecasts that a common currency, to replace the national currencies of member countries, will be introduced by 2024.

During their 21st Ordinary Meeting of the regional Monetary Affairs Committee (MAC) that was recently convened at Kampala Serena Hotel, the governors said there is progress towards establishing the East African Monetary Union. 
“The legislative bills that will establish the East African Monetary Institute and East Africa Bureau of Statistics were before the East African Legislative Assembly for enactment,” they stated in their joint communiqué after the meeting. 
They added that a draft bill for establishing the East African Surveillance, Compliance and Enforcement Commission was before the Sectoral Council on Legal and Judicial Affairs for consideration.

“Furthermore, drafting of the bill establishing the Financial Services Commission had commenced,” they added. 
Based on the 20th ordinary MAC meeting held in Kampala on July14 last year, the governors said progress had been made in key areas.

These include; harmonising the monetary policy frameworks and exchange rate operations, rules and practices governing bank supervision and financial reporting in preparation to the East African Monetary Union.
The meeting was chaired by Bank of Uganda governor Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile and attended by Prof Benno Ndulu, Governor of the Bank of Tanzania, Dr Patrick Njoroge, Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya and John Rwangombwa, Governor of the National Bank of Rwanda.

Also part of the meeting was Othom Rago Ajak, Governor of the Bank of South Sudan who attended for the first time since the accession of the Republic of South Sudan to the EAC.
Mr Melchior Wagara, the first Deputy Governor of Bank of the Republic of Burundi and Dr Louis Kasekende, the deputy Governor Bank of Uganda also attended.
There were also representatives from the EAC secretariat, International Monetary Fund and German Society for International Cooperation.

By MARTIN LUTHER OKETCH