ARUSHA - Finance Ministers, Central Bank Governors and Chief Executive Officers of leading companies in East Africa will today meet in Arusha, Tanzania, to discuss solutions to the surging global financial crisis.
The one-day meeting organized by the East African Business Council (EABC) will identify problems; discuss solutions on how East African economies can best bail out the private sector.
According to the EABC Executive Director Charles Mbogori, part of the recommendations made will be presented at the East African Community (EAC) Summit scheduled for later this year, and the Council of Ministers, a policy organ of the regional grouping.
“We want to seek local solutions to this crisis. The meeting will mainly seek to turn the crisis into an opportunity for the region,” Mbogori said in an EABC statement, a copy of which The New Times obtained.
The credit crunch currently affecting major economies has rapidly evolved into a global credit crisis resulting into a number of bank failures and declines in various stock indexes, and commodities worldwide.
The crisis that began with failures of large financial institutions in the United States has pushed the world’s major economies into a recession, and presents a significant risk to East African economies which depend on developed economies for aid and trade.
Tourism earnings and remittances from people in the Diaspora have already begun to decline as companies cut jobs to reduce expenses.
The meeting comes in the wake of an address by President Paul Kagame last Friday in Arusha, where he called for the introduction of a single tourist visa in the region in an effort to make East Africa more competitive in the tourism sector.
He was addressing the East African Legislative Assembly, (EAC) in his capacity as Chairperson of the EAC Heads of State Summit.
“Generally, we should double our efforts of promoting the East African Community as an attractive destination for business beyond the traditional European markets,” Kagame had told regional parliamentarians.
Experts have predicted that East African economies will be hit as earnings from major exports such as tea, coffee, cut flowers, and cotton fall as consumers in export markets reduce spending.
EABC is an apex body of business associations in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi with an aim of promoting Private Sector’s regional and global competitiveness in Trade and Investment.