27 March 2014

East Africa: EAC Mulls Streamlining Business Start-Up Laws

Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya are mulling a uniform regulatory framework for citizens wishing to start business in individual member states.

This was one of the resolutions agreed upon yesterday at the closure of a ministerial meeting convened in Kigali to discuss the implementation of Northern Corridor projects under the tripartite framework.

The three countries resolved to establish a team made up of people from the ministries of labour, trade and immigration to look into ways of easing procedural burden that potential investors face trying to access regional markets.

In an interview with The New Times, François Kanimba, the minister for trade and industry, said after easing free movement of people, especially with the use of national identity cards, partner states were shifting attention to doing business.

"The next step now is to look at the way people can do business in partner states without restrictions; we want a scenario whereby a Rwandan is free to put up a business in Nairobi or Kampala without looking at him as a Rwandan," he said.

Kanimba said a meeting will be held in Kenya next week to design clear modalities that will facilitate implementation of their decision.

Joseph Nyagah, the Kenyan national coordinator of Northern Corridor Integration Projects, said it was part of the wider goal to eliminate all barriers to doing business under the tripartite framework.


"We have been instructed by heads of state to facilitate trade and movement of labour. I hope with these regular meetings we will be able to have a positive conclusion and our people will start working and putting put their businesses in the partner states with ease," Nyagah said.

Currently, States require different requirements for a foreigner to establish a business in another country.

Amb. James Baba, the Uganda's State minister for internal affairs, reiterated his country had agreed to waive work permit fees to allow free movement of labour.

During the meeting, participants agreed to establish EAC single tourist visa application form by May 1.

The next Northern Corridor Projects summit will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, where Heads of State will further assess the implementation of the projects, including the proposed Mombasa-Kigali railway line and oil pipeline that would connect to Kigali.


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