In his address at the EABC-FEC business meeting in Bukavu DRC, Shamavu Alain, Minister of Planning Budget and Investment Promotion of the Provincial Government of South Kivu in the DRC said: “The Government is committed to improving the business climate in South Kivu by initiating regulatory reforms to reduce the cost of doing business and improve the competitiveness of regional products and services.”
He however said that following the accession of DRC into the East African Community (EAC), the presence of East African Business Council (EABC) is timely and will strengthen business relationships, as South Kivu is a border province enjoying geostrategic position with three major EAC Partner States- namely Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania.
He applauded DRC President Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi for championing closer cooperation and dialogue with the other EAC Heads of State in order to foster a good business climate, economic development and peace in the region.
The Vice-President of the Federation of Enterprises of Congo (FEC), Ramazani Ramos said: "With DRC joining the EAC, business people in DRC expect a significant reduction of transport costs and import taxes for products Made in DRC and quicker speed in customs clearance at the border post and ports of EAC Partner States.”
Ramos expounded that the Federation of Enterprises of Congo is in favour of the abolition of visa fees on entry for East Africans to ease the free movement of people.
EABC Board Director Amelie Ninganza, welcomed on-board business leaders from the Democratic Republic of Congo to join EABC membership to benefit from B2B and B2G engagements.
She said, “Non-Tariff Barriers still hinder the growth of intra-EAC trade.”
She elaborated that EABC is steadfast to collaborate with the Federation of Enterprises of Congo to reduce the cost of doing business across EAC borders and at the ports of Mombasa (Kenya) and Dar es Salaam.”
Ramos further called upon investors from EAC Partner States to establish industries in DRC as it will be a testimony that the entry of DRC into EAC is an opportunity for the people and will open up protectionism policies.
EABC CEO, John Bosco Kalisa said: “Despite geographic proximity, EAC’s trade with the DRC is low compared with South Africa.” South Africa's exports to DRC stood at USD 1 billion in 2021 and imports at USD 77.2million while EAC countries' imports and exports to DRC stood at USD 49.2 million and USD 584 million respectively. He lauded that DRC joining the EAC bloc will enhance trade ties and economic growth.
Other priorities outlined by the EABC-FEC Business Meeting include: Improving trade facilitation at the port of Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean; Construction of better modern infrastructures and Ratification & enforcement of EAC protocols/ regulations.
EABC has planned to set up national focal points in the cities of Goma, Bukavu and Kinshasa to enhance collaboration with the Federation of Enterprises of Congo and private sector involvement in the EAC regional integration agenda.