The East African Business Council (EABC) is calling for tax regime harmonization within the East Africa Community (EAC) and simplification of business processes, to attract more investors in the region.
During a two-day Virtual Conference on Trade & Investment Opportunities in East Africa Beyond COVID-19, EABC CEO Dr Peter Mutuku Mathuki urged EAC Partner States to continue creating a favorable business environment in the region.
“Addressing infrastructure issues and ensuring stable human capital development will entice investors to come to East Africa,” he said.
The conference attracted Investment Promotion Authorities, Senior Government Officials, Industry Champions, Development Partners and Investors from the region.
The EAC has a market access to more than 177.2 million people with a combined GDP of about USD200 billion.
Speakers representing Investment Promotion Agencies in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Uganda and Zanzibar highlighted the regions priority investment sectors to include; tourism, agriculture and agribusiness, infrastructure, manufacturing, energy, mining and metals, oil and gas among others.
General Manager in Investor Services at Kenya Investment Authority, Mr Guracha Adi, said the Kenyan Government is set to inject 2 to 3 billion shillings in the sector in order to expand the manufacturing sector.
“While disruptive in many ways, Covid-19 has brought in opportunities in manufacturing of chemicals and cosmetics, textiles and apparels particularly Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), pharmaceuticals such as anti-body testing kits and metals and allied electronics such as oxygen cylinders,” Adi said.
Adi championed Kenya as a favorable investment destination noting that the country has no foreign exchange controls allowing for full repatriation of profits, capital and interest for investors.
Kenya Investment Authority also highlighted manufacturing of construction materials and equipment, agro processing, leather processing and heavy industries production as some of the key investment opportunities available in Kenya.
Generation of energy from biogas and renewable resources, processing of minerals and precious metals and establishing motor vehicle assemblies were also noted as some of the opportunities investors can tap into.
Ethiopia Investment Commission (EIC)Director Investment Promotion, Aschalew Tadesse, noted that 80 reforms are currently been effected to ease doing business in Ethiopia.
“We are focused on easing the process of acquisition of construction permits, starting a business, trading across borders and registering property,” Tadesse said.
The meeting was also attended by EABC Chair Mr Nick Nesbitt who noted that Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) continue to hinder cross-border trade due to different measures on COVID-19 in the region and urged for
improving regional coordination and harmonization of measures on COVID-19 for economic resilience and growth.