NAIROBI - Kenya has called for fast tracking of reforms in the East African Community (EAC) financial sector to help improve export credit facilities and financial services in the region.
EAC Permanent Secretary David Nalo said the reforms are key for regional integration to be smooth and allow citizens reap from the unity.
He said urgent reforms in the sector must be carried out in tandem with the changing economic, social and political circumstances.
Trucks awaiting clearance at the Malaba border. Inset, EAC Permanent Secretary David Nalo. Kenya is the second biggest investor in Tanzania and among top foreign direct investors in Uganda.
He said increased cross-border investment within the region is being realised and firms are now increasingly basing their business plans on the regional market, rather than the national markets.
The Foreign Direct Investment trend in the region, he added, has been on the upward trend.
Mr Nalo said Uganda Investment Authority data shows Kenya among its top 10 sources of foreign direct investment with 27 licensed investment projects worth $158 million.
In Tanzania, Kenya is the second biggest investor with 270 firms providing jobs for more than 100,000 people.
Nalo said the levels of investments in the region are set to increase with the launch of the EAC Market Protocol.
“The integration presents huge opportunities for the business community, in terms of larger markets, economies of scale and larger pools of human, financial, and physical capital,” he added.
Nalo called upon the financial sector to continue working towards a better image, corporate governance, prudent risk-management, basing their business plans on the regional market and better co-operation to enhance contribution to the EAC vision.
The PS said the sector is expected to play a major role in providing intermediation between savings and investments and mobilisation of funds required to implement the EAC Vision from internal sources as well as leverage more resources from outside the region.
Nalo stated that for the sector to contribute effectively to the EAC vision the sector should work towards harmonising among others the Banking Acts.
Nalo spoke in Malindi yesterday at a meeting of regional financial regulators.
Also to be harmonised are capital market policies on cross-border listings, regulatory, legislative frameworks, structures and common standards for market operations.