The East African Business Council, Thursday, re-elected Nicholas Nesbitt from Kenya as Chairman, during the 20th EABC Annual General Meeting, (AGM) held in Nairobi, Kenya.
Nesbitt is the Chairman of Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), who was first elected to the EABC helm in June 2018 during the body’s 19th annual general meeting
Established in 1997 to foster the interests of the Private Sector in the EAC integration process, the EABC is the regional apex body of Private Sector associations and Corporates from the six regional governments.
The annual meeting also elected Rwanda’s Denis Karera, Uganda’s Mwine Jim Kabeho and Tanzania’s Salum Shamte as vice-chairs and members of the EABC executive committee to strategically guide its mission to promote sustainable private sector driven growth. Nesbitt urged 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 African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).
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.”
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.”
“EABC is awake to the fact that the intra EAC trade is below 20 per cent vis a vis other RECs such as SADC at 40 per cent and EU at 68 per cent, therefore, there is a need to strengthen public-private dialogue that will spur the regional intra trade to above 30 per cent in the next two years,”Mathuki said.
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 non-tariff barrier-free region.
Adan Mohamed, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of EAC Affairs and Regional Development, said: “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.”
Mohamed said that Africa’s unity, future strength and power lies in the large market.