[East Africa Business Week] Bob Koigi: Actualizing the Common Market Protocol
22-07-2022 16:00:33 | by: Bob Koigi | hits: 3252 | Tags:

The heads of the East African Community in a recent special sitting reaffirmed their commitment to implementing the EAC Common Market Protocol noting that the market was the best way to increase intra-regional trade and spur economic growth in the region.  They deliberated at length the vast opportunities available to the region under the protocol and how to exploit them for the benefit of all Partner States.

The Summit discussed a raft of issues touching on the region from infrastructure development, energy transition, removing all restrictions on air transport services and strengthening the community.

As the leaders were discussing better ways of deepening integration, African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the East Africa Business Council (EABC) launched the EABC – Africa Trade and Investment Council, with the goal of creating a platform for engagement and investment between the East Africa Community (EAC) and the rest of Africa, to unlock investment opportunities, private sector development and business growth.

This, as the East Africa Business Council, EABC, urged EAC Partners States to have common regional policies on future global shocks to enhance economic resilience and rebound amid COVID-19.

The Council further urged for the implementation of monetary policy measures to support business recovery such as affordable and accessible credit to the private sector especially SMEs and women cross-border traders.

In banking and financial sector, FMO, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank, announced the signing of a NASIRA portfolio guarantee for $15 million in local currency for its existing customer I&M Bank in Kenya. The risk-sharing facility will be used for I&M Bank’s MSME portfolio, as it aims to expand its outreach to MSMEs as part of its current iMara strategy.

A new investment between IFC and CRDB PLC announced  will increase access to finance for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Tanzania and Burundi, helping strengthen both countries' recovery from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the partnership, IFC is providing a $100 million loan to CRDB Bank Tanzania, half of which will be in local currency, and a $5 million loan to CRDB Bank Burundi to support lending to smaller businesses in both countries, especially to women-owned businesses.

Rwanda has embraced the Remote Appraisal, Supervision, Monitoring and Evaluation (RASME) initiative, a tool that enhances project-related data collection in remote areas. It is the first East African country to do so and the seventh overall in the continent.

The initiative is a partnership of the African Development Bank’s IT Department (CHIS), the World Bank’s Geo-Enabling initiative for Monitoring and Supervision, and KoBoToolbox Foundation, a non-governmental organization affiliated with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

In agriculture, The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group approved $73.5 million to finance a program that will boost Tanzania’s food production by a million tonnes in three years.

The Tanzania Agricultural Inputs Support Project, spanning September 2022-June 2025, was designed under the Bank Group’s African Emergency Food Production Facility to tackle a potential food crisis exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. It seeks to strengthen the country’s capacity to achieve self-sufficiency in wheat and edible oil production by 2030.

Eni completed the construction of the oilseed collection and pressing plant (agri-hub) in Makueni, Kenya, and started production of the first vegetable oil for bio-refineries.

The first agri-hub will have an installed capacity of 15,000 tons with an expected production of 2,500 tons in 2022.

And in other news, Uganda has committed to reaching over 1 million young people in Uganda annually with opportunities to accelerate the African Union Commission’s vision of reaching 300 million young people by 2030 under the 1 Million Next Level initiative. This pledge has set a great pace and tone for many Heads of State to join this commitment.

Bob Koigi is the East African Region Editor at Africa Business Communities