July 2, 2018—Ugandan national, Jim Kabeho, last week handed over the Chair of the East African Business Council (EABC) to Nicholas Nesbit, the Chairman of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and General Manager, IBM East Africa Limited.
The EABC Board of Directors consists of 22 members, headed by ac, elected from the East African Community (EAC) Partner States on an annual rotational basis. Each country nominates four members to the Executive Committee.
The EABC is the main lobbyist for business interests and its clout has been steadily increasing in tandem with the region’s economic profile. Even without including Ethiopia’s figures, at 5 percent, East African GDP is growing faster than the sub-Saharan average of 3 percent.
In his remarks, Kabeho lauded the EABC Secretariat for the good work that has been done in the year under review and congratulated the incoming Board, urging them to continue the ongoing initiatives of the EAC Integration process.
Dr. Manu Chandaria, EABC Founding Chairperson in his remarks during the 19th AGM held in Nairobi said the private sector should be committed to EAC integration and spearhead the full inclusion of EABC in the EAC as a constituent member of the integration process. “As the private sector, our interest should be one East Africa and not our respective countries,” he said.
The AGM is the supreme policy making organ of the East African Business Council (EABC). Nesbitt reiterated the need to increase competitiveness of East African companies and SMEs to compete at continental as well as international level. he sad, “Let’s focus on competitiveness of our businesses to sell our goods at regional, continental, and international scale.”
He asked for closer collaboration with the governments of the EAC Partners States towards improving the regional business environment so that the private sector can thrive. Nesbitt also called for improvement of technological infrastructure to fast-track the free movement of goods and services in the region. “Adopt technology such as block chain to solve regional challenges like counterfeits and contraband,” he said.
The EABC was established in 1997 to foster the interests of the private sector in the integration process of the East African Community. Originally comprising members from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, its membership was expanded after 2007 to include private sector from Burundi and Rwanda as well as South Sudan in 2017.
The AGM meets once a year to elect the Executive Committee headed by the Chairperson, receive annual report on the initiatives undertaken by the Secretariat and give overall direction to the Secretariat in line with the Strategic Plan and interests of the business community in East Africa. The EABC Board of Directors consists of 22 members, headed by a Chairperson, elected from the Partner States on an annual rotational basis. Each country nominates 4 Members to the Executive Committee.
EABC has an ‘Observer Status’ at the EAC, which enables us to attend and participate in all relevant EAC activities and deliberations, not only at the Secretariat but also in other organs and institutions.