Africa Business Communities

[East Africa Business Week] Bob Koigi: What the entry of Somalia to the EAC means for region

This week, The East African Community (EAC) officially launched the verification mission to assess the Federal Republic of Somalia’s readiness to join the Community.

The verification team will establish the country’s level of conformity with the criteria for admitting foreign countries as provided in the Treaty for the establishment of the EAC.

Somalia shares borders with one EAC Partner State, namely Kenya, and has strong historical, linguistic, economic and socio-cultural links with all the EAC Partner States Somalia has the longest national coastline of over 3,000 kms in Africa, linking Africa to the Arabian Peninsula, which the region will tap into to increase intra-regional trade

If admitted, Somalia will benefit through the increased movement of goods, services and people across the bloc in addition to expanding intra-regional trade. Further, the exploitation of Somalia’s blue economy resources such as fish will boost the regional economy.

Still on matters integration, The East Africa Business Council, EABC, has called for an EAC single air transport services agreement to lower the cost of air transport in the region.

The Council appealed to the EAC Heads of State to agree on offering preferential and national treatment to EAC airlines as currently in some countries, foreign airlines enjoy more favorable treatment than EAC airlines. The council is of the opinion that the region can start offering preferential and national treatment to EAC cargo planes to boost exports.

In banking news making headlines this week, Ethiopian Ministry of Finance and the World Bank have signed two Financing Agreements amounting to a total of $745 million, approximately 39.8 billion ETB, both in the form of grants.

The first Grant Agreement amounting to 445 million US dollars will finance to implement/ Program for Results (hybrid) for Strengthening Primary Health Care Services. And the second 300 million US Dollars Grant Agreement will be used for the implementation of Flood Management Project.

Patience Mutesi has been appointed the new Managing Director of BPR Bank Rwanda, a subsidiary of KCB Group, effective February 1, 2023.

Mutesi replaces George Odhiambo, who was assigned new duties in KCB Group. She joins the bank after serving as Country Director for TradeMark East Africa since July 2016 where she oversaw a strategic trade facilitation program which contributed significantly towards increasing Rwanda's trade, investments and job creation.

And in the startups space, eWAKA, one of Africa’s most promising sustainable mobility startups, has received strategic support from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) Start-up Fund of the Swiss Confederation. SECO Start-up Fund has offered a 500,000 CHF loan that will support eWAKA’s 2023 plans to accelerate a growth strategy focused on providing innovative and sustainable mobility technology in Africa through the local production and promotion of eWAKA’ signature electronic bike known as the Shujaa.

BasiGo, the Kenyan-based electric manufacturer has partnered with the Associated Vehicle Assemblers Ltd (AVA) to assemble its buses in the country.

The two companies aim to manufacture over 1,000 electric buses in the next 3 years, creating over 300 new manufacturing jobs and an additional 300 jobs in the ecosystem of charging, maintenance and financing.

Pre-seed venture capital (VC) fund and accelerator Catalyst Fund has announced a $2 million investment in 10 startups developing solutions to improve the resilience of communities most vulnerable to climate change in Africa including Agro Supply from Uganda.

SweepSouth, a South African cleaning startup that recorded quick growth through several funding rounds has informed its customers that it’s closing down its Nigeria and Kenya offices.

The company has operations in three South African cities, as well as Kenya, Nigeria and Egypt. It was launched in June in 2014 as an “Uber for cleaning services”, and raised a seed round in 2015.

Elsewhere, After expanding its commodities exchange business in Kenya in June last year, Nigeria’s AFEX is now expanding to Uganda. Similar to Kenya and Nigeria, farmers in the country will benefit from AFEX’s tech-enabled services for agricultural producers.

In its first year of operations in Uganda, the firm aims to reach 10,000 farmers and aggregate 15,000 metric tons of commodities, while extending its aggregation, storage, and financial inclusion services to Ugandan farmers and processors.

And On January 20th, the County of Vihiga in Western Kenya signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with The Water Project, a U.S.-based NGO building sustainable water projects to bring clean, safe, and reliable water to the communities of Vihiga County.

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


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