East African Business Council Secure $3 million to Tackle Trade Barriers

Why a Regional Clearing Agents Framework will Facilitate Free Trade in EAC

Kenya-uganda One Stop Border post in Busia County.

The East African Business Council (EABC) has signed a $3 million financing agreement with Trademark East Africa (TMEA) to help address trade barriers in East Africa.

This will support the implementation of a three-year programme, “Integrating Public-Private Sector Dialogue (PPD) for Trade and Investment in East Africa Community (EAC) programme”.

The partnership will support EABC’s advocacy efforts of improving coordination, reporting, and resolution of Non-Tariff Barriers along the corridors; harmonization and adoption of East African Standards/ Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures; improve adoption and harmonization of Customs and Domestic Tax-related policies and trade facilitation in the EAC.

To strengthen and sustain EAC’s trade and investment, it is critical that an enabling environment is in place to guarantee growth and predictability. Public‐Private Dialogue plays a crucial role in addressing constraints, providing short‐term stimulus with long‐term impact and contribute to economic growth and poverty reduction.

East African Business Council Secure $3 million to Tackle Trade Barriers
EABC-TMEA MoU Signing: From left to right: Ms. Waturi Matu, Senior Director, Business Competitiveness; Hon. Peter Mathuki, CEO East African Business Council; Mr. Frank Matsaert, CEO TradeMark East Africa

Also, the programme extends beyond the EAC and incorporates the COMESA, COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) and Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

“Inadequate trading regimes restrictions on the export of certain commodities, and lack of product diversification and the existence of NTBs continue to hamper intra-regional trade which is still low at 20 percent compared to other RECs,” EABC CEO Peter Mathuki said.

The EABC is a key convenor of high‐level regional Public‐Private Sector Dialogue forums with an “Observer Status” at the EAC level will lead the coalition-implementing partners of the project.

“According to World Bank Ease of Doing Business report (2018), the EAC is ranked 149 out of 190 in the ease of trading across borders, as EABC, we will coordinate, set the agenda and facilitate evidence‐based research on Public-Private Dialogues to reducing barriers to trade in the EAC region,” said Mathuki said.

A similar trade deal worth $1.5 million (Sh154.4 million ) has also been signed between the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and TMEA.