Nairobi — The East African Business Council (EABC) is urging East Africa Partner States to harmonise investment incentives and market East Africa as a single investment destination.
Speaking at the two-day Virtual Conference on Trade & Investment Opportunities in East Africa Beyond COVID-19, Nick Nesbitt, EABC Chair and the Chief Guest said "We all have a responsibility to improve the investment climate in East Africa to attract more investments into the region. Let's wave the flag of Open Markets and East Africa."
He also noted that Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) continue to hinder cross-border trade due to different measures on COVID-19 in the region and urged for improving regional coordination and harmonization of measures on COVID-19 for economic resilience and growth.
"To ensure growth in the region, there is also a need for simplification of business processes and harmonization of EAC tax regimes," said EABC CEO Dr. Peter Mutuku Mathuki.
The conference attracted Investment Promotion Authorities, Senior Government Officials, Industry Champions, Development Partners and Investors from the region and beyond.
Dr. Mathuki also noted that EAC has market access to more than 177.2 million people with a combined GDP of about USD200 billion.
"The region offers numerous investment opportunities in all sectors and has abundant resources, strategically located, sufficient human capital to support new and existing businesses. The level of intra-regional trade and cross-border investments is also on an upward trajectory," said Dr. Peter Mathuki.
The speakers of the Virtual Conference on Trade and Investments Opportunities representing Investment Promotion Agencies in Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Zanzibar highlighted the priority and lucrative sectors for investments including: tourism, agriculture and agribusiness, infrastructure, manufacturing, energy, real estate, mining and metals, oil and gas among others.
Martin Muhangi, Deputy Director-General, Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) said that Uganda offers competitive electricity rates, adequate labor and the Government has identified 27 potential areas for industrial parks.
"Acquiring an investment license in Tanzania has reduced to 14 days and we are working to reduce this further to 7 days," said John Mnali, Director of Investment Promotion at Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC).
Zanzibar Investment Promotion Agency noted that Zanzibar is not only looking at scaling up tourism but also unlocking the potential of aquacultures such as fish processing and seaweed farming.
Rwanda Development Board noted that the country has effected various incentives to attract investors such as the 7 years corporate tax holiday for investors putting up more than USD.50 Million investments.
"Rwanda also offers a one-stop centre for investors with dedicated investment acceleration and aftercare services," said Zephanie Niyonkuru, Deputy CEO, Rwanda Development Board.
Generation of energy from biogas and renewable resources, processing of minerals and precious metals and establishing motor vehicle assemblies are among other opportunities in the region investors can tap into.