The East African Business Council (EABC) has emphasized the vital role of business associations in the successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Speaking at the panel session of the AfCFTA Business Forum, Mr. John Bosco Kalisa, EABC Executive Director, stressed the importance of accelerating AfCFTA implementation at the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) level, with respective Business Councils facilitating intra-African trade.
According to Mr. Kalisa, 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.
“RECs are the building blocks of AfCFTA integration, and Business Councils in the respective RECs can actualize trade through capacity building of the private sector,” Mr. Kalisa said.
EABC has successfully sensitized over 300 private stakeholders on the Protocol on Trade in Goods across EAC countries with support from Development Partner.
“As we are talking here, the East African private sector has managed to export a range of products to Ghana under AfCFTA’s Guided Trade Initiative,” he said.
Three countries in the EAC, namely Rwanda, Kenya, and Tanzania, are enrolled in the Guided Trade Initiative, and Uganda is steadfast to also be enrolled in the second phase, which will be launched in June this year.
The role of the private sector in the AfCFTA integration has been emphasized 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 development partners to provide technical support to Business Councils to enable them to build the capacity of the private sector to understand and apply AfCFTA instruments and 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 EAC and beyond