Vaccines: CEOs want EAC-wide certificate

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This proposal is part of the resolutions of the round table of directors general of national umbrella associations of the private sector convened by the East African Business Council (EABC) on Tuesday in Nairobi.

EABC CEO John-Bosco Kalisa said an EAC COVID-19 vaccination certificate would allow mutual recognition and elimination of current transaction costs of COVID-19 testing and boost trade, travel and intra-EAC tourism.

He praised the high-level bilateral commitments reached by EAC Heads of State to resolve Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs), while the Kenya-Tanzania bilateral engagement resulted in 72 NTBs being resolved. There was also a need to amend the NTB legislation to include clear sanctions and deadlines for resolving existing NTBs, he said.

Carole Kariuki, CEO of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) said that KEPSA has launched a COVID-19 vaccination campaign for businesses and that the EABC has now agreed to undertake similar campaigns in partner states of the EAC.

Closer collaboration of the private sector in marketing and strengthening the competitiveness of “Made in East Africa” ​​products in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) market was also discussed, she said. .

EABC President Nick Nesbitt said the EAC bloc is Africa’s most integrated regional economic community and would be bolstered by the vaccine deployment strategy for the region.

Francis Kisirinya, acting CEO of the Uganda Private Sector Foundation (PSFU) called for more in-country and regional public-private dialogue to ensure policies are increasingly focused on companies.

Nshimirimana Denis, Secretary General of the Federal Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Burundi (CFCIB) urged support for the “Buy East Africa, Build East Africa” ​​campaigns to stimulate intra trade. -EAC.

EABC Board Director Mary Ngechu said SMEs represent over 80% of businesses in the region, fighting COVID-19 calls for structured engagement of SMEs at national and regional levels to inform policies, step up their contribution to recovery efforts.

Ngechu called for consolidation and aggregation of SMEs to increase product volumes and leverage regional and continental value chains.

Trademark East Africa’s Senior Private Sector Technical Advisor Waturi Matu has recommended uniform implementation of COVID-19 protocols and amicable solutions to reopen closed borders in the EAC zone.

Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) CEO Francis Nanai said awareness of the benefits of AfCFTA is important following its recent ratification by Tanzania.

Juma Charles of the South Sudan Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture said the chamber commits the South Sudan Ministry of Foreign Affairs to implement the country’s commitments under the Union Protocol customs authority of the EAC.

The removal of visa fees for Uganda and Kenya by South Sudan will allow free movement of people, goods and services, he said.

The roundtable agreed to make quarterly pledges to address new and chronic trade issues and share ideas on best practices, appreciating the goodwill shown by the EAC General Secretary on the matter.

The secretariat is working to guide private sector-led integration through the EAC-EABC technical working group, he said. EAC partner states must amend article 24 of the customs union protocol to operationalize the EAC’s trade remedy committees tasked with resolving trade disputes, he added.

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