World Bank Ease of Doing Business report (2018) ranked EAC at 149 out of 190 in the ease of trading across borders. Well, this means that there is much more to be done in the East African region. In order to strengthen and sustain EAC’s trade and investment, an enabling environment is very crucial to guarantee growth and predictability.
As part of efforts to ease doing businesses within East Africa, two multimillion agreements have been signed between several firms to address trade barriers such as multiple product standard inspections, bureaucratic trade procedures and delayed business transactions.
Key among them is the USD 3 million (Kshs 308.8 million) financing agreement between The East African Business Council (EABC) and TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), the other is the USD 1.5 million (Kshs 154.4 million) deal between Kenya Private Sector Alliance and TMEA.
The deal between TMEA and EABC is meant to boost the implementation of a three-year program dubbed “Integrating Public-Private Sector Dialogue (PPD) for Trade and Investment in East Africa Community (EAC) program”.
In a bid to increase trade and investments in the EAC, Peter Mathuki, CEO of EABC said that the firm will leverage on the partnership to enhance advocacy and dialogue on transport and logistics, trade facilitation, customs and tax, standards, and NTBs.
“Inadequate trading regimes restrictions on the export of certain commodities, and lack of product diversification and the existence of NTBs continue to hamper intra-regional trade which is still low at 20 percent compared to other RECs,” Mathuki said.
He said that the partnership will support EABC to evaluate and monitor EAC policies to ensure they work for businesses at ground level and create momentum to accelerate needed the policy reforms to the business and investment climate in the EAC.
“We appreciate this partnership with TradeMark East Africa as it will support EABC to evaluate and monitor EAC policies to ensure they work for businesses at ground level and create momentum to accelerate needed the policy reforms to the business and investment climate in the EAC,” Mathuki said.
Besides the EAC, the programme will also incorporate the COMESA, COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) and Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Other key areas sought to be tackled include;” improving coordination, reporting and resolution of Non Tariff Barriers along the corridors, harmonization and adoption of East African Standards, Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, improve adoption and harmonization of Customs and Domestic Tax-related policies and trade facilitation in the EAC.”
Featured Image Courtesy: KPMGAfrica.com