Lobby wants 40pc of procurements in Africa given to private sector
East African Community (EAC) member states have moved to iron out trade barriers that will open up the region for seamless trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The regional economic bloc member countries will be looking to capitalise on the AfCFTA as a major opportunity for African
countries to bring 30 million people out of extreme poverty and to raise the incomes of 68 million people. Share of intra-African trade remains low, on average, 13 per cent for intra-imports and 20 per cent for intra exports, while extra-African trade accounts for more than 80 per cent of the total trade. Speaking at the 2nd Regional Coordination Meeting of Heads of Regional Communities on the Implementation of the AfCFTA, East African Business Council (EABC) chairman Nicholas Nesbitt, said that African states should embrace trade partnerships within the continent.
“With AfCFTA, it is time for Africa to create real wealth and private and public sectors have a moral responsibility to build prosperity,” he said. President of the Africa Business Council, Amany Asfour asked African governments to formulate a continental local content policy whereby 40 per cent of procurements will be awarded to the African private sector. “This is in order to hasten economic growth and industrial development,” she said. The African Business Council is the apex body on the promotion and lobby of the Pan-African Business interests.
East African Community was re-established 21 years ago under the four pillars of Customs Union, Common Market, Monetary Union, and Political Federation, but has been hit by slow and poor implementation of its first pillar, the Customs Union, while non-tariff barriers clog the way to the full implementation of the Common Market. He called for a big 5 East African Agenda to rally the private sector to champion economic growth and prosperity in sectors of tourism, infrastructure, agriculture, and digital trade among others. He further urged the Heads of Regional Economic Communities to open up African skies for increased connectivity and trade.
Peter Mathuki (pictured) the Secretary-General of the regional bloc said that inadequacies of trade-related infrastructure, different trade regimes and customs, administrative and technical barriers and limited productive capacity hinder the growth of intra-Africa trade.