Nairobi, Kenya: August 8, 2019: The East African Business Council re-elects Mr. Nicholas Nesbitt as Chairman, during the 20th EABC Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Nairobi, Kenya. The AGM also elected Amb. Denis Karera, Mr.Jim Kabeho and Eng. Salum Shamte as Vice-Chairs and Members of the EABC Executive Committee who will strategically guide EABC’s mission - promoting sustainable Private Sector driven growth.
The opening ceremony was graced by Hon. Adan Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of EAC Affairs and Regional Development, Republic of Kenya.
“The EABC should take lead in reviewing the EAC Common External Tariff (CET) and come up with a CET structure that is beneficial to the East African private sector and make the region more competitive,” said Hon Mohamed.
The Chief Guest Hon. Mohamed, said that African’s unity, future strength and power lies in the large market. He further noted the importance of public-private dialogue to fast track targeted policy reforms to improve the business environment and reposition the EAC bloc to seize benefits availed by the AfCFTA.
In his remarks Mr. Nick Nesbitt, EABC Chairman urged the EAC Governments to enhance public-private dialogue and formulate policies that will solve logistical challenges, fix fragmented value chains, and enhance value addition of products in the region to be competitive in light of the AfCFTA.
Speaking at the opening ceremony Eng. Stephen Mlote EAC Deputy Secretary-General, Planning, Infrastructure, Finance and Administration highlighted that EABC-EAC Technical Committee has been successfully formed. The committee prioritizes and addresses trade and investment issues in a bid to improve the EAC business environment in line with the Treaty aspirations and the 5th EAC Development Strategy.
In her remarks, Ms. Waturi Matu, Senior Director, Business Competitiveness TradeMark East Africa said “The private sector in the region should anticipate challenges to trade, become more results-driven by taking a proactive role to increase exports within and outside the region.”
The Annual General meetings reviewed the achievements and milestones of the year 2018/19.
In his remarks, Hon Peter Mathuki, EABC CEO said “EABC continues to be the only voice of the private sector at the regional level and plays that critical role of advocating for a conducive business environment in the region”
He further said “EABC is awake to the fact that the intra EAC trade is below 20% vis a vis other RECs such as SADC at 40% and EU at 68%, therefore, there is need to strengthen public-private dialogue that will spur the regional intra trade to above 30% in the next two years.” said Hon Mathuki.
He explained that NTBs remains a challenge to the business community and called upon the EAC Partner States to work closely with the private sector towards a NTB free region.
In his report to the Annual General Meeting, the Mr. Nesbitt EABC Chairman highlighted EABC’s achievements as: Set-Up of Sector-Specific Desks on Trade in Services, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Energy & Infrastructure and SMEs to support members, establishment of EABC-EAC Technical Working Group, EABC’s Offer to host the Africa Business Council Secretariat in Arusha, Tanzania was noted and recorded in the deliberation of the AfCFTA Business Forum and Summit in Niamey, Niger; EAC Partner States adopting EABC’sProposal on 10% import duty on sugar for industrial use (HS Code 1701.99.10) in 2018/19; during the 2018/19 and 2019/20 Budget, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania adopted EABC proposals to increase import duties on over 50 tariff lines under iron and steel products; Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) Mandated to take charge of Assuring the Quality and Safety of Food and Cosmetics Products and Salt Manufactured in Kenya Accorded Community Preferential Tariff Treatment by Uganda, among other key milestones.
During the 20th EABC Annual General Meeting, EABC recognized outgoing Board Directors for their distinguished service to the council in the year 2018.
The Annual General Meeting was followed by a Get together - B2B Match Making and networking event for East African SMEs under the Project “Creating Perspectives: Business for Development (East Africa)”. The Chief Guest at the Get-together event was Dr. Vimal Shah, EABC Chairman Emeritus and H.E Annett Gunther, German Ambassador to the Republic of Kenya who shared insights on SME development and strengthening the manufacturing sector in EAC.
In his remarks, Dr. Vimal Shah urged businesses to embrace technology and spearhead the vision of a borderless East Africa for trade and investment.
The EABC appreciates the support of Mabati Rolling Mills Ltd, Coca- Cola Central, East and West Africa Ltd, TradeMark East Africa, the German Development Cooperation-GIZ, Federation of German Industries (BDI) and International Trade Centre (ITC) towards EABC’s initiatives to improve the business environment in the EAC. The AGM paid tribute to the late Dr. Reginald Mengi, EABC Chairman Emeritus, Mr. Amirali Karmali, Chairman Mukwano Group of Companies and Mr. Bobby Collymore, CEO Safaricom Plc for their contribution the EAC regional integration process.
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is the supreme policy-making organ of the East African Business Council (EABC). The AGM meets once a year to elect the Executive Committee headed by the Chairperson, receive annual report on the initiatives undertaken by the Secretariat and give overall direction to the Secretariat in line with the Strategic Plan and interests of the business community in East Africa.