With the support of the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub, East Africa's business leaders, policy makers, representatives of apex bodies from the Partner States, development partners and the East Africa Business Council (EABC) Secretariat convened for the first ever East African Regional Business Leaders’ Summit in Arusha, Tanzania on March 1.
Participants deliberated on the progress of the implementation of EAC Common Market and the role private sector can play, challenges faced and suggested solutions. All in attendance agreed that the private sector is a key driver of the implementation process and has to collaborate closely with policy makers to achieve full implementation.
Watch our Chief of Party making his remarks at the closing dinner
The EABC Chairman presented the below Summit recommendations to the Heads of State Summit, held the following day, March 2:
- The policy makers were urged not to entertain vested interests presented by individual companies - all policy changes must be driven by EABC, its national apex bodies and / or the respective sector associations.
- EAC Partner States were urged to domesticate the EAC air space and adopt and implement the EAC Air Transport regulations. This should include harmonization of regulatory fees and charges and provision of national treatment to EAC national air operators, passengers and cargo.
- EAC Partner States were urged to do away with country specific stay of applications of EAC common external tariff and apply it uniformly.
- A regional law should be enacted to define national to mean EAC, this is to facilitate the implementation of Common Market Protocol.
- On the issue of security of business shipments within the EAC territory, it was proposed that a regional body be created that will be responsible for securing shipments across the region.
- Harmonisation of standards for the prioritized 20 most traded goods across the region as well as develop regional technical regulations framework to harmonise technical regulations.
- The Council of Ministers to expedite the harmonisation of work/residence permits fees, forms, procedures and classifications.
- Expedite the ratification of the EAC Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation by EAC Partner States and a firm commitment towards the process of harmonising domestic tax regimes.
- EAC Partner States to expedite the process of enacting the EAC Anti-Counterfeit Law , put in place Anti-Counterfeit measures at national level and harmonise Intellectual Propriety Rights (IPRs) across the region.
- The Private sector to enhance and strengthen its partnership with all EAC policy makers, both regionally and nationally.
The Heads of State also launched the EABC Code of Conduct that requires members to adhere to set ethical guidelines in conducting business.
The Hub will continue its ongoing work in strengthening private sector participation in the implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol in order to boost trade and investment across the region.