Germany to increase investments in region
East African Community Secretariat, Arusha, 31 October 2012: The Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC) Ambassador Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera has exhorted German business to invest in East Africa, saying that the region is peaceful and has enormous opportunities for investments.
“I am challenging the German community to come to East Africa for both business and tourism to take advantage of fruits of EA integration,” he said when opening the first EAC-German Business Forum in Berlin on 30 October, 2012.
The Secretary General added that commercial presence of German business community in hotel and hospitality industry in East Africa, and noted that the manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, motor vehicle assembling and spare parts sectors could be further expanded into new avenues for mutual benefit.
He highlighted the fastest growing segment of the EAC economy and the investment opportunities that have become available in the service sector, which include ICT, finance, insurance, tourism, agro-processing, mining, infrastructure and renewable energy.
Amb. Sezibera assured his audience that included the German State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Hans-Jurgen Beerfeltz among other leading prominent German businessmen and experts, that East Africa was stable and secured for investors.
The Secretary General explained that the EAC has been commended as one of the successful Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in Africa.
He told the Forum the World Bank Doing Business 2012 report had revealed that EAC Partner States are among the fastest reforming countries in the world.
“The Report acknowledges the progress made by the EAC Partner States in making the business environment better over the past five years. EAC intra-regional trade also rose to 23 per cent of the total value of exports, the highest of all the African regional economic communities,” Amb. Sezibera said.
The Secretary General noted that in a relatively short spell of eleven years, the EAC is at the verge of concluding the Monetary Union Protocol currently being negotiated by the Partner States, whose ultimate aim is to usher in single currency. The five-nation economic bloc is currently implementing the Customs Union and the Common Market protocols.
The EAC chief explained the steps being taken to ease the challenges and other infrastructural deficiencies.
“The challenges are also business opportunities such as in energy and other infrastructural shortfalls in EAC countries,” he stated.
He lauded the German government’s generous assistance in the construction of the EAC headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania, at a cost of 15 million euros. The headquarters will be formally inaugurated by the EAC Heads of State on 28 November.
The German State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development on his part said that East Africa was on right course to economic reforms.
“Germany can provide best practices to realize the opportunities that exist in East Africa,” he said, adding that his country looked at the African continent positively for mutual benefit. He encouraged German businessmen to invest in East Africa.
Also speaking at the event, Kenya’s Ambassador to Germany and chair of the EAC Ambassadors in Germany His Excellency Ken Nyauncho Osinde affirmed that the East African community in Germany was out to market the region as a single tourist destination.
He asserted the EAC Ambassadors desire to do all they could to deepen the friendly ties that exist between the EAC and the Federal Republic of Germany.
German counterparts gave testimonies of dealing with EAC business community through the German African Business Association and the challenges therein.
The EAC Treaty places the private sector at the heart of integration process, which is the engine of the regional economic growth.
The high-powered EAC delegation was led by the Secretary General Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera while the EAC Diplomatic Missions in Germany organized the EAC participation.
Representing the EAC business community and accompanying the Secretary General was the East African Business Council (EABC) Executive Director Mr. Andrew Luzze and Dorothy Tuma of the East African Women in Business Platform.
The German delegation was led by the Hans-Jurgen Beerfeltz, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Dr Hans-Joachim Preub, member of GIZ Board and Wolfgang Knorle, Member of the Board of the German-African Business Association.