The East African Business Council (EABC) on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Africa Global Chamber of Commerce (AGCC) to lure more investments from the United States of America into the six-member East African Community.
The agreement outlines several areas of collaboration including showcasing trade and investment opportunities in the EAC bloc, industrial exchange programmes and trade missions to the USA, joint exhibitions and conferences, training programs and certifications.
John Bosco Kalisa, the EABC CEO, said: “EABC and AGCC partnership is set to improve joint ventures, production capacities and technology transfer between businesses in East Africa and USA.”
The new partnership is set to boost trade and attract more USA investments in industrial parks, special economic zones, export processing zone in the EAC and unlock market access to U.S.A through AGOA, environmental and climate change innovations and co-organizing the East African Business and Investment Summit 2022.
Olivier Kamanzi, Chairman of AGCC said “AGCC is steadfast to kick-off this partnership as USA investors are eager to visit and explore trade opportunities in East Africa region”.
According to Olivier Kamanzi, Chairman of AGCC, the deal paves way for the African diaspora and USA investors to partner with the private sector in Africa and strongly drive the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The AGCC has mobilized diaspora to invest and setup a smart city in Malindi, Kenya.
In 2019, U.S.A foreign direct investment (FDI) in Kenya (stock) was $353 million, $1.5 billion in Tanzania, $42 million in Uganda, $11 million in Rwanda and $1 million in Burundi.
Kalisa advised the AGCC to mobilize the African diaspora to invest in East Africa in lucrative sectors such as agri-business and digital innovations to support the economic recovery of the continent amid Covid-19.
The EAC benefits from preferential market access to the U.S under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
In 2015, EAC and the U.S signed Agreement on Trade Facilitation, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT). The EAC also initiated negotiations on EAC-US Investment Treaty and inaugurated EAC-US Commercial Dialogue.
According to the International Trade Centre, in 2019, EAC imports of goods from USA stood at $1.124 billion while exports reached $704 million.
This value declined to $963,010 and $681,299, respectively, in 2020 due to disruptions by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kalisa called for joint advocacy efforts to ensure the extension of the AGOA and commencement of negotiations EAC-US Free Trade Agreement in order to attract more investment into East Africa. Kalisa said that AGOA has integrated the EAC bloc’s apparel sector into the global value chains.
The AGCC is a Chicago-based not-for-profit corporation specializing in promoting trade, investment, educational exposures, and cultural exchanges globally for Africa’s economic interest and its partners starting from the United States of America.
The corporation strives to serve businesses and professionals seeking business opportunities, while also, facilitating mutual commerce between US and Africa.
By James Karuhanga