The Hub is partnering with Private Sector Federation Rwanda (RPSF) to accelerate implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol. With support from the Hub, RPSF convened the country’s National Technical Committees on February 15 in Kigali, Rwanda for a peer-to-peer dialogue in preparation for the upcoming Kenya-Rwanda private sector-led negotiations; the objective was to jointly advance a more favorable policy environment for trade and investment between Kenya and Rwanda. The dialogue focused on reviewing key trade and investment obstacles between the two countries and proposed a series of reform measures that each country’s private sector has prioritized for removal in the other partner state. These consultations were in collaboration with their Kenyan counterparts from the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA).
Members of the National Implementation Committee (NIC) and stakeholders from both the public and private sectors attended the session.
Through a series of negotiations, RPSF and KEPSA will agree on a set of minimum of urgent reforms and later jointly release a reform memorandum. Thereafter, they will commit to a mutual advocacy process for an improved trade and investment policy environment to support their private sectors. A bilateral meeting between RPSF and KEPSA is expected to be held in the first quarter of 2017 in Kigali. It will be the first of a series of Hub-supported peer-to-peer dialogue meetings in support of accelerated implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol.
The Hub-supported peer-to-peer approach provides a strong platform for reform-minded parts of the private sector to leverage their domestic advocacy capabilities in support of regional reforms and to improve the trade and investment environment. This has been welcomed by the region’s private sector. Because of the mutual accountability between the two business associations, they further gain reform partners in other EAC Partner States that can advocate for removal of measures that affect their exporters and investors.
The Hub aims to increase these peer-to-peer dialogues throughout the life of the project, as they are supported by governments in the East African Community and will help improve the business-enabling environment. Kenya's Trade Minister, Hon. Adan Mohammed, speaking at the last EABC-convened Business Leaders’ Summit in March 2016 in Arusha challenged the private sector to jointly agree on reforms in order to give him more authority to lobby their implementation among government colleagues. This process will satisfy that request and will hopefully spur removal of a number of inhibiting measures.