The second East African Manufacturing Business Summit and Exhibition scheduled to start in Kigali on May 23 will, among others, look into the biggest challenges faced by regional manufacturers and how they can be addressed.
François Kanimba, Minister for Trade, Industry and East African Community Affairs said this during a press conference at the ministry head office yesterday.
Accompanied by Christophe Bazivamo, the Deputy EAC Secretary General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, Kanimba told reporters that for the past two days, they had a successful steering committee meeting to plan for the three-day meeting.
Kanimba said: “Key-issues to be addressed include: how can the region market itself best? Where are the major investment opportunities? What currently are the biggest challenges for regional manufacturers and how should they be addressed?”
The summit, he added, will also look at the success factors for manufacturers in the EAC, how to gain competitiveness in price and quality, how to deal with environmental concerns, and what can be done against counterfeits, illicit trade and intellectual property violations, among others.
Other important matters during the conference will include: how to develop the requisite qualified labour force (industrial skills), sectors that are most affected by EAC regulations, and the role of the EAC Diaspora.
Kanimba said: “The forum seeks to create an avenue for the private sector to advocate and campaign for the acceleration of industrial reforms aimed at improvement of investment conditions in the EAC strategic sectors.”
The EAC region, he noted, already identified strategic areas for industrial development that bear comparative advantages and where significant private sector investment is needed to unlock potentials.
These sectors include: agro- processing and agri-business; mineral processing; pharmaceuticals; construction materials among others.
The meeting will bring together top executives in the manufacturing and agri-business sectors, policy and decision makers, as well as key financial institutions from Africa and beyond.
The first such business summit took place in Munyonyo in Kampala, Uganda in 2015.
Bazivamo told reporters that the steering committee meeting appreciated results from the 2015 event and is building on them to prepare for the next event.
“As regards recommendations from the first business summit, we developed action plans and policies which are helping the manufacturing sector in our region,” Bazivamo said.
The 17th EAC Heads of States Summit directed Partner States to procure competitively, their textile and footwear requirements from within the region where quality and supply capacities are available with a view to phasing out used textiles and footwear within three years.