EABC holds East Africa high-level business summit in Arusha

14Nov 2019
Aisia Rweyemamu
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
EABC holds East Africa high-level business summit in Arusha

THE East African Business Council (EABC) has organised the East Africa high-level business summit in Arusha to commemorate and celebrate 20 years of EAC regional integration as well as undertaking an audit of achievements, impediments and future prospects for the region.

Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) executive director Godfrey Simbeye (C) briefs journalists in Dar es Salaam yesterday on the forthcoming high level East Africa business and investment summit which goes in line with the celebration to mark 20th years anniversary of the East Africa Community (EAC) scheduled to take place in Arusha from November 28 and 29 this year. Others are the East Africa Business Council (EABC) country representative, Raphael Maganga (L) and EABC board member Emma Oriyo. Photo: Guardian Correspondent

The business summit scheduled to take place in Arusha from November 28th -29th, this year will bring together more than 500 business people with top chief executive officers (ceos), industry champions, investors from the region and beyond to engage in dialogue with the high-level policy decision makers, including the EAC Secretary General, the EAC Council of Ministers and the East African Legislative Assembly.

Executive Director of Tanzania Private Sector (TPSF) Godfrey Simbeye  said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the summit will also discuss measures on how they can boost intra trade level between the EAC countries up to 50 per cent from the current 12 per cent.

“The summit will have various sessions including trade and investment climate, harmonization of the tax regime and enhancing public-private collaboration session which  will both together  explore various issues”, he said.

According to Simbeye, the trade and investment climate session will explore main challenges inhibiting intra-EAC trade, key recommendations to significantly diversify EAC economies and to enhance EAC trade and key policy recommendations to boost investments into the EAC.

The conference will also discuss on key issues to be addressed to promote the community as a single investment area and how EAC as a region can leverage reforms to address the cost of doing business and attract significant FDI.

The harmonization of the tax regime will look at establishment of a regional tax and regulatory partnership for development initiative with the participation of the business community, governments and tax regulatory authorities will also be explored during business summit.

The enhancing public-private collaboration session will view the role of the private sector as an integrated and true partner into the regional policy and decision-making organs of the EAC for increased trade, investment and industrialization

The TPSF boss said that the private sector is the engine for economic growth, wealth and job creation supporting tax revenue collection critical to delivering public services.

“The private sector is keen to engage the Heads of State Summit on Business environment in the EAC region, solutions to increase intra-EAC trade, investments and industrializations and positioning the EAC in light of the African continental free trade area.

… Speaking of trade and investment climate in the EAC, he said EAC is one of Africa’s fastest-growing regional blocs registering economic growth of 5.7 per cent in 2018.

“However, the main challenge is that exemptions, remissions, and special arrangements in the region constrain the benefits that would accrue.

The resolutions of the business summit shall be submitted to the EAC Council of ministers and summit of EAC heads of state to deliver quick wins for the region in a bid to increase intra EAC trade and investments.

Speaking at the event, the EABC board member Emma Oriyo said the establishment of the Single Customs Territory and One-Stop Border Posts (OSBP) has eased the free movement of persons and goods and trade.

For his part, the Raphael Maganga said with many milestones achieved still there are several challenges that have to be addressed, these include the non-tariff barriers, protectionist tendencies by nations, delay in harmonization and domestication of EAC agreed decisions and directives.