NAIROBI– There has been less trade between the East African community and Germany simply because of a weak link. In a strategic move to mend business ties, the East African Business’ Council( EABC) has re-ignited it’s relationship to avert the disparity.
On Thursday, November 25, the two parties had a comprehensive meeting to foster and forge away forward in regard to how the German African Business Association (Afrika Verein) can work best with the East African bloc.
Representing the Council, John Bosco Kalisa said that they are committed to enhancing the partnership with them.
According to recent statistics, in 2020 the regional imports of goods from Germany were USD. 850million while exports to Germany hit USD.304 million, making an increase of 25% compared to the previous year. Some of the products in exchange have been coffee, cut flower, tea, tobacco, fish, petroleum oils, precious metals, vegetables among others while those from Germany are mainly; machinery, mechanical appliances, equipment, spare parts, vehicles and pharmaceuticals.
The Chairman Emeritus EABC, Vimal Shah urged for more involvement of East African companies in driving the continental and international debates agenda such as the European Business Council for Africa and EU-Africa Union Business Forum.
He also advocated for the reignition of the Memorandum of Understanding between EABC and the German African Business Association to spur trade and development to the next level.
Dr. Markus Thill, who doubles as the Board Member of Afrika-Verein and President Region Africa of Bosch called out for harmonized policies to support the growth of the automotive sector in the region and adoption of common position on Rules of Origins at the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) level and beyond.
He also emphasized the need and understanding of deeper analysis on the automotive value chains in East Africa to attract more investors into the sector since the region imports all their vehicles.
Mary Ngechu, EABC Board Director said that capacity building on certification for value added products by Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in East Africa will ease access to the German and EU market to boost manufacturing in the region.
“The EAC Partner States to forge partnerships on distribution agreements, local procurement and advance market commitments to lure investments in the vaccine industry. Access to EAC Common Market of 177 million underpins the growth and sustainability of vaccine industries and investment” said Sarah Reynolds from Merck Group.
On the political front, John Bosco Rusagara assured that there is goodwill from the EAC Head of States and that it will ease doing business in the region because there is steady progress which is evident since they are in the final stages of admission of Democratic Republic of Congo to the community.
Additionally, the parties agreed to collaborate on manufacturing, healthcare and pharmaceutical, energy, mobility infrastructure and trade missions.