Arusha. The United States has pledged to support the private sector growth in East Africa and invested more than $ 40 million to the blue economy in Zanzibar.
The commitment was made by the American ambassador to Tanzania Michael A. Battle during his visit to the East African Business Council (EABC) head office in Arusha on Thursday.
“We are focused on promoting the growth of the private sector and sustainable economic development in the East African Community (EAC) region”, he said.
According to him, some $40 million has been injected by the US investors for the development of various segments of the blue economy in the Isles.
These are fisheries, aquaculture, maritime transport, coastal marine and maritime transport, tourism, energy and other marine ecosystem services.
Mr Battle, who is also accredited to the EAC, paid a visit to the EABC offices to explore areas of partnership aimed at strengthening East Africa- USA trade and investment ties. EABC executive director John Bosco Kalisa told the US envoy that the bloc was open for business.
“There is a political goodwill from the EAC Heads of State to improve trade and investment climate in the region,” he pointed out.
He said the admission of DR Congo has expanded the bloc’s market to $305.3 billion and a total population of 283.7 million.
The EAC has conducted a verification mission to assess Somalia’s readiness to join the Community as the eighth member.
Mr Kalisa further stated that the regional business body was committed to promoting trade for peace programmes in the region “to ease doing business”.
Also highlighted during the visit was USAID’s Feed the Future project through TradeMark Africa and Corporate Council of Africa.
Other issues which came up for discussion were the US East Africa Trade and Investment Forum and the forthcoming US- Africa Business Summit 2023 to be held in Botswana.
“The EAC treaty is people-centered and market-driven, and EABC is at the forefront of championing advocacy for the full implementation of the Common Market and Customs Union protocols,” Mr Kalisa said.
However, he emphasized that the acceleration of the Common Market was crucial for the achievement of the Monetary Union and attendant single currency economy.
Other areas discussed during the visit included strengthening partnerships with US Alumni and AmCham, tax harmonization, women, youth, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in trade.
The US ambassador was also informed of the 14th African Union Private Sector Forum 2023 in Nairobi, and the East African Business and Investment Summit slated for Kampala, Uganda later this year.
Later Mr Kalisa hosted Uganda’s High Commissioner to Tanzania and the EAC Fred Mwesigye expressed his commitment to promote trade ties between Tanzania and Uganda through closer collaboration with EABC.
Other areas discussed during the visit included the African Continental Free Trade Area and improving productive capacities based on country comparative advantages.
The two also deliberated on areas of partnership to strengthen economic diplomacy, empower SMEs, youth and women in trade, and the Africa Waste is Wealth Conference in Nairobi later this year.
“Economic diplomacy is central to boosting intra-EAC trade and creating shared prosperity and jobs for East Africans,” the EABC boss explained.
He elaborated that the regional business body championed public-private dialogues with ministers and trade facilitation agencies at the borders “to unlock barriers to trade, especially non-tariff barriers”.
Read original article
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TradeMark Africa.