EAC Steps Up Preparations for 3rd EAC Investment Conference
East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 30 March 2010: The East African Community Secretariat has stepped up preparations for the 3rd EAC Investment Conference confirming the date and theme for the event due in April. The 3rd EAC Investment Conference will take place from 27 to 30 April, 2010 at the Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala, Uganda.
The Conference theme; EAC Common Market: The preferred Investment Destination for Expanded Opportunities, is a reflection of the trajectory the EAC integration project has taken, with the EAC Common Market Protocol set to come into effect in July this year.
H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda, is expected to grace the official opening of the Conference, which will also be attended by other EAC Heads of State. The Conference will bring together policy makers, business leaders and the regional and international investor community to review the investment outlook of the EAC region and discuss investment opportunities. Over 2000 participants are expected to attend the Conference. This year’s conference will also herald the launch of the World Bank’s EAC’s Doing Business Report 2010, the first ever initiative of its kind.
Key topics such as climate change and food security, commercialising agriculture, competitiveness and value addition, investing in renewable energy and extractive industries and reforms that make doing business in all these areas more conducive will be highlights of the conference.
In keeping with a tradition that has earned the Conference popularity and respect since its inception, the event shall showcase the various investment opportunities that EAC offers, including the possibilities of joint partnerships, direct investments, industrial growth and economic development.
Also planned is the launch of the EAC Investor of the Year Awards which will recognise and encourage cross border investors in order to strengthen the bonds of integration and reward the best performances in the business community based on defined criteria.
Among the Conference’s expected outcomes are endorsements of policy proposals aimed at improving business environment in the Community by the EAC Heads of State; establishment of long-lasting joint ventures and partnerships with the local business community and international businesses; increased investments in the region especially in services, agri-business, and mining and; harmonised policy proposals amongst the Public-Private Sector to improve the operating environment.
The EAC Investment Conference is an annual event held on rotational basis in the EAC Partner States. The inaugural Investment Conference hosted by Rwanda in 2008 brought together more than 1000 participants, amongst them regional and international investors and world business leaders, under the theme, Leveraging the East African Market through Trade and Investment”. The 2nd conference hosted by Kenya in 2009 had about 2000 participants and was themed “Invest in the EAC; where Global challenges are Opportunities.”
The 3rd EAC Investment Conference is organised by the East African Community Secretariat in collaboration with the Regional Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs), the East African Business Council, and the Government of the Republic of Uganda.
The East African Community today stands as a region that operates under a fully fledged Customs Union. Further to this achievement is the signed Common Market Protocol in November 2009, deemed to commence in July this year. As the region moves towards a fully integrated economic community where goods, capital, labour and services move freely without borders, it is important to note the abundant potentials that East Africa poses today.
The East African Community is made up of 126.6 million people with a combined gross domestic product of USD 73 billion. With a fully fledged Customs Union in place, and the Common Market commencement slated for July 2010, the region has opened its market to fully enjoy the benefits of cross border trade and investment amongst the five Partner States.
The EAC Partner States are in the process of continuously harmonising their business systems, regulations and administrative structures to discipline trade and investment regimes to effectively leverage the region as “One market, One destination” for business.
The Community, operating within the setting of the global environment also faces the same challenges that have bedeviled the world in the last couple of years. Top amongst these are climate change, food shortages, global financial crisis and security. Akin to Africa is the additional challenge of inadequate infrastructure. The conference will endeavor to address these challenges in an effort to improve the business environment.