THE East African Business Council (EABC) has emphasised the vital role of business associations in achieving implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The remarks were made by the EABC Chief Executive Director, Mr John Bosco Kalisa, during a panel discussion of the AfCFTA Business Forum held on Tuesday.
Mr Kalisa stressed the significance of speeding AfCFTA implementation at the level of Regional Economic Communities (RECs), with respective business councils encouraging intra-African trade.
“RECs are the cornerstones of AfCFTA integration, and business councils in the respective RECs can actualize trade through private sector capacity building,” Mr Kalisa explained.
According to him, the business councils in the RECs have a critical responsibility in creating awareness of AfCFTA’s instruments to enable the business community to take advantage of the opportunities presented by AfCFTA.
EABC has successfully sensitized over 300 private stakeholders on the Protocol on Trade in Goods across EAC countries with support from development partners.
“As we speak, the East African private sector has been successful in exporting a variety of goods to Ghana through the AfCFTA’s Guided Trade Initiative,” he added
Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania are the three EAC nations that have signed up for the Guided Trade Initiative, and Uganda is adamant that it will, as well. The second phase of the initiative will begin in June of this year.
The role of the private sector in AfCFTA integration has been emphasised with the launch of the African Business Council (ABC), which brings together private sector associations under the coordination of business councils and private sector associations at REC levels.
The panel discussion recommended that development partners provide technical support to business councils to enable them to build the capacity of the private sector to understand and apply AfCFTA instruments and to dialogue with the public sector on the effective implementation of AfCFTA.
The EABC is committed to fostering a conducive business environment that facilitates trade and investment in the East Africa Community (EAC) and beyond.