On behalf of the German government, GIZ partners with the EAC Secretariat to support regional and continental Trade in Goods with the potential to foster sustainable economic transformation. It also works to strengthen regional and continental Trade in Services sectors, among them ICT, e-Commerce and tourism. On this foundation, GIZ has supported the East African Business Council (EABC) since 1997 in strengthening the private sector and promoting intraregional trade through capacity development, studies and providing platforms for engagement with other actors in the private sector.
Throughout the 25 years of partnership, GIZ has also supported the national associations in the EAC Partner States through EABC. In late 2020, the EAC Secretariat offered a six-weeks training on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for herbal and traditional medicines through the SEAMPEC programme to entrepreneurs in all EAC Partner States. Among the participants was Natacha Baranyuzwe, an entrepreneur from Rwanda who established a sanitiser and hair shampoo line based on the extract of the Bidens Pilosa plant that occurs naturally in East Africa. At the time, she had registered Baranyuzwe Cosmetics but soon realised that she needed validated equipment and laboratory analysts to improve the quality of her products and expand her business. “Through the training, I realised that I cannot be competitive on the East African market with the rudimental instruments I had been using prior.” By 2022, Natacha had expanded her product line to include solid soaps and was considering introducing her own line of drinking water. She had also established close working relations with the Rwanda Standards Board and piqued the interest of importers in other EAC Partner States.
In another support area, the EABC released the EABC Barometer on Business and Investment in the EAC in 2022, which was based on a study conducted across six Partner States with the support of GIZ. The main objective of the study was to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on business and investment in the EAC Partner States. The study shed light on the performance of the EAC economies as caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the key factors and challenges responsible for the performance and provided recommendations to the EAC Partner States for their post-pandemic economic recovery. Some of the main recommendations included the need for Public-Private Dialogue in the Partner States, harmonization of the various trade and tax regimes as well as the importance of developing risk management and disaster recovery plans at the business level and Partner State level.
SEAMPEC II also engages private sector stakeholders in the region by supporting workshops and regional summits. On 10 March 2023, GIZ hosted representatives from EABC alongside the East African Women in Business Platform, Inter-University Council for East Africa among others, in a dialogue on the status of digitalization, innovation, and technology in practice that were promoting gender equality for women and youth in the region. As recommendations, participants advocated for public-private partnership in the expansion of broadband coverage in underserved areas, enactment of policies that foster more competitiveness in the regional telecommunication sector and creation of enabling environments for women and girls to develop their digital skills and partake in the fruits of the digital economy. Similarly, GIZ supported the recent East African Business and Investment Summit that brought together over 500 participants from across the EAC to Kampala, Uganda, from 31 August to 1 September 2023.
Find more information on the SEAMPEC II here.
Find more information on Natacha Baranyuzwe’s success story here.
Find more information on the EABC Silver Jubilee Commemorative Journal here.