Fast track business reforms, EAC told
Financial experts have advised the East African Community (EAC) to speed up business reforms in order to encourage domestic investment if the bloc is to realise its integration agenda.
Speaking at the opening of the fourth Network of Reformers (NoR) conference in Kigali yesterday, the World Bank Group’s Regional Investment Climate Manager, David Bridgman, said that the investment climate should be made conducive through out the region.
“Encouraging local investment will ultimately result in microeconomic stability which is a good measure of any government’s commitment in achieving the integration agenda,” he said.
He said that the partner states should ensure political stability and improve the quality of infrastructure which are the cornerstone for innovation and competition.
Bridgman called for strong interaction so as to create a platform to exchange ideas and best practices from leading countries in the region.
It is in this spirit that it was agreed among member states to set up a framework, backed by the law, necessitating all countries to meet their obligations within a given time.
Meanwhile the Minister of Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba says it is necessary to make the reform process sustainable.
He acknowledged that Rwanda has made reasonable progress in ensuring access to finance at the local level though more needs to be done.
“There should be a change of perspective. For example more investments may be put in agro businesses since agriculture is the backbone of the region’s economy,” Kanimba said.
He also called for the abolishment of impediments at the regional level which hinder the free movement of goods within the member states.
Statistics from Rwanda Development Board indicate that investment growth has been registered over the years. In 2010, investment was estimated to be USD 400 million. Last year it was 626million dollars and a projection of 825million dollars is expected this year.
Between 55 and 60 per cent of all registered investors are domestic. But international investors have bigger projects and that is why they dominate in Rwanda.
Contact email: sam.nkurunziza[at]newtimes.co.rw