On 23 October, the East African Business Council (EABC) signed a Phase II partnership agreement with the GIZ "Support to East African Integration" (SEAMPEC II) Programme on "Enhancing Effective Private Sector Participation in the EAC and AfCFTA Integration Processes."
The official grant agreement for Phase II, valued at €250,000, was signed by Mr. John Bosco Kalisa, Executive Director of EABC, and Mr. Björn Richter, EAC-GIZ Cluster Coordinator.
Present at the signing ceremony, the EAC Deputy Secretary General for Customs Trade and Monetary Affairs, Ms. Annette Mutaawe Ssemuwemba, pledged the EAC Secretariat collaboration to support the implementation of the Phase II project. She lauded the Phase II project for focusing on harnessing the opportunities under AfCFTA, emphasising that the growth and resilience of the EAC bloc result from unified policies, with the private sector playing a fundamental advocacy role.
This partnership builds on the remarkable achievements of EABC and GIZ Phase I project and promises to enable the private sector, including MSMEs, to learn how to trade under the EAC and AfCFTA markets, which serve a population of 300 million and 1.3 billion, respectively.
Mr. Kalisa highlighted some of the key achievements of the Phase I project:
- Development of a team of AfCFTA private sector master trainers on AfCFTA's Protocol on Trade in Goods.
- Improved knowledge of private stakeholders from the manufacturing, agriculture and SME sectors on AfCFTA Protocol on Trade in Goods following national sensitisation workshops.
- SME representatives from across the EAC region developed a two-year roadmap to enhance SME participation in EAC and AfCFTA Agreements.
Further, the interventions of the Phase II partnership include:
- Capacity Building: EABC will expand capacity building for EAC private sector players in Burundi, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on AfCFTA.
- Focus on Trade in Services: EABC will conduct sensitisation national workshops on the AfCFTA Protocol on Trade in Services (PTIS) and its annexes in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania.
- 2nd Edition of EABC Barometer on Trade in Services: This edition will include unexplored sectors such as Transport (road, internal waterways, pipeline, rail and maritime), Communications (postal, courier and audio), Business (distribution, computer and related services, research and development services, leasing or rental services, franchising services).
- Export Readiness Workshops for SMEs and Youth Entrepreneurs: These workshops will equip participants with AfCFTA and export skills to seize the opportunities offered by AfCFTA.
- Publishing EABC Policy Advocacy Agenda 2023/24: This agenda will outline private sector policy priorities for the governments of the EAC Partner States to address, aiming to promote a conducive business environment.
- EABC-EAC Technical Working Group Meeting to review progress in resolving private sector issues.
Find more information on SEAMPEC II here.