Buy East Africa; build East Africa, partner states told

THE Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment has called on East African Community (EAC) partner states to adopt the use of traditional wear as official government dresses for official events.

This is in the spirit of promoting Buy East Africa Build East Africa (BEABEA) strategy.

The move, according to the Sectoral Council which convened in Kilimanjaro Region recently, is bent in supporting cotton farmers, boosting industrialisation, and saving foreign exchange.

The EAC has for years now been keen on reviving and grow the local textile industry but efforts are yet to bear fruit.

Meanwhile, the Council’s 38th meeting encouraged partner states to establish digital platforms to support exchange information on harvesting of cotton and trade of cotton lint in order to increase the intra EAC trade on the products.

It also made proposals on textile and textile articles to be moved to maximum band to stimulate local production; expand the harmonised cotton, textiles and apparels (CTA) articles under duty remission; and develop modalities of developing leather industrial parks with common effluent treatment; among others.

Opening the ministerial session, the Chairperson of the meeting and Minister of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, from the Republic of Burundi Audace Niyonzima, called on the partner states to remove the restrictions and bottlenecks that impede industrial development in the region.

“Industrialization, trade, finance and investment are important pillars of integration and their development will help to deepen integration as the region moves towards the next milestone of financial integration”, he explained.

Mr Niyonzima equally called on the EAC partner states to not only put in place clear policies and strategies but also to implement them on the ground to support economic development and employment for the EAC citizens.

On his part, EAC’s Director of Productive Sectors, Jean Baptiste Havugimana challenged the partner states to adopt revolutionary and innovative approaches to implementing industrial policies if the anticipated economic growth in the regional policy was to be achieved.

“As a region we are not doing well in meeting the aspirations of the regional industrial policy targets,” observed Mr Havugimana.

According to the EAC senior official, the regional current Manufacturing Value Addition (MVA) growth has slowed down in recent years, from 5.3 per cent between 2005 and 2010, to 4.6 per cent between 2010 and 2021, falling short of the 10 per cent annual growth rate envisaged in the EAC Industrialization Policy (2008-2032).

Mr Havugimana noted that due to slow pace of MVA growth, relative to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the share of manufacturing in GDP has been contracting from previously more than 10 per cent a decade ago to less than 8 per cent on average for the region, raising doubts about structural transformation through industrialisation.

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