The private sector of the community has been invited to lead the purchase and construction initiative in East Africa
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the EAC fell 43% to USD. 4.9 billion in 2020
Employment fell 2%, wiping out gains from the previous year
Trade between East African Community countries fell 5.5% to USD. 5.9 billion in 2020 due to COVID-19 while the bloc’s exports to the world reached 16.2 billion in 2020, an increase of 3% compared to 2019.
So says the CEO of the East Africa Business Council, John Bosco Kalisa, who urged the private sector of the community to lead the purchase of East Africa, to build the narrative of the ‘East Africa.
He added that the campaign is essential in driving the EAC bloc’s economic recovery program amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He spoke during a webinar on EAC’s Trade and Investment Recovery Amid COVID-19 hosted by the East African Business Council.
Speaking at the same event, EAC secretariat director of trade Alhajj Rashid Kibowa said the EAC Post COVID-19 economic stimulus plan was being consulted with countries.
Director Kibowa said foreign direct investment (FDI) in the EAC fell 43% to USD. 4.9 billion in 2020 and employment fell by 2%, erasing the gains made the previous year.
In 2019, the EAC block recorded the USD. 8.66 billion FDI, an increase of 375% compared to 2018.
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Director Kibowa said the EAC secretariat is committed to the digitization and harmonization of COVID-19 procedures to facilitate the movement of goods and is holding regular consultations with the ministries of health, finance and government. Trade to monitor and assess the social and economic impact of COVID-19 in order for the EAC bloc to move forward in unison.
Kibowa said the EAC Post COVID-19 economic stimulus plan sets out key strategies among which to attract investment in ICT manufacturing and health and incentives for the promotion of regional value chains.
Other areas targeted include diaspora investments, innovation centers and the elimination of non-tariff barriers and the promotion of SMEs.
Access to the new markets of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (FTA) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), as well as the promotion of exports, e-commerce and the digitization of commerce are also part of The strategy.
Commenting on the same, Alex Njombe Senior Partner at KPMG Tanzania said vaccination against COVID-19 is important to reduce the negative impact of COVID-19.
He urged East African companies to embrace digital technology to build business resilience in the new standard supporting simulations to predict future risks and opportunities on finance and liquidity, operations, supply chain supply, trade and macro outlook of the economy.
Njombe said that in the second phase of COVID-19, companies have triggered business continuity plans to build resilience as GDP growth and capital markets decline and credit risk increases due to the impact of the pandemic.
He further clarified that the third phase of COVID-19, marked the beginning of the recovery with more investment projects, import substitution from a disrupted supply and companies exploited new opportunities.
Kudzai Madzivanyika, EA Senior Director – Regional Policy and Trade The USAID Policy LINK project urged the EAC partner state to implement the 10% financial budget requirement for the agricultural sector in accordance with to the overall development of African agriculture.
She said COVID-19 has affected the marketing and storage of agricultural products, disrupted supply chains leading to access to agricultural inputs, labor and price volatility.
She said the competitiveness of the agricultural sector in the EAC bloc is hampered by low productivity, trade barriers, import bans, sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, high taxes, transportation, warehousing. and inadequate storage facilities.
She called for the assessment and monitoring of policies and plans, the establishment of safety nets, the elimination of trade restrictions and NTBs, the facilitation of trade in food, perishables and agricultural products, diversifying and increasing production capacities and integrating regional value chains.
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Madzivanyika, said the AfCFTA should tackle Africa’s $ 100 billion food import bill expected in 2030.
Other people who spoke at the event included Yves Ngenzi, regional coordinator of the East Africa Tourism Platform, who urged all EAC partner states to adhere to the protocol of the EAC. single African air transport market to reduce the cost of air transport.
He called for innovation and diversification into new services such as sports tourism and MICE and the marketing of the EAC block as a unique tourist destination.