Arusha — Member organizations of the East African Business Council (EABC) should brace for increased participation in the regional integration after the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) has offered a four year grant of $1.8m to the EABC to build capacity for their member organizations.
The agreement was signed on July 23 in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
A statement issued by the EABC Communications Officer, Mr Godwin Muhwezi said the grant will support the Council in delivering its work programme that is envisaged to help build the capacities of the private sector in the East African region.
He said the project which is entitled "Deepening Private Sector Participation in East Africa's Economic Integration" will augment the on-going regional economic integration efforts and the role this plays in fostering stronger growth and alleviating poverty.
The signing of the grant agreement comes at an opportune time when the East Africa Community (EAC) Common Market has been launched and as a result the free movement of capital, labour, goods and services will create a heavier demand on the private sector to produce quality goods and services,' he explained.
"Regional integration is one of Africa's priorities in overcoming fragmentation across the Continent and reducing Africa's economic marginalization,' he noted.
ACBF Executive Secretary, Dr. Frannie Léautier said the grant is in recognition of the important and successful role that EABC has played in demonstrating its potential in representing the interests of its members.
"This not only influences the development of private sector policies, but also engages with the political leadership within the East Africa region," she said.
"As a foundation, we are cognizant of the fact that the East Africa Treaty places emphasis on private sector development as critical for the success of the integration process in Eastern Africa while the East Africa Community Private Sector Development Strategy (EAC-PSDS) provides an incentive framework for facilitating and promoting private sector development."
She reiterated that the strategy pays great emphasis on improving the business environment, and on the institutional and human capacity development necessary for increased trade and investment.
The chairman of the East African Business Council, Mr Faustin Mbundu said the grant is meant to increase our capacity to meet our objectives in expanding private sector participation in regional integration"
Over the next four years, the council will strive to develop both human and institutional capacities, by supporting the harmonization of business related policies, laws and regulations.
It will also create trade negotiation capacities among EABC members; enhancing corporate governance principles and practices, as well as participation in business and regional trade related fora.
EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of planning and infrastructure, Alloys Mutabingwa, who presided over the ceremony said the support will go a long way in enhancing the role that the EAC Treaty envisages for the private sector.
The Foundation's mission is to build sustainable human and institutional capacity for sustainable growth, poverty reduction and good governance in Africa.