The East African Business Council (EABC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Africa Global Chamber of Commerce (AGCC) to lure more investments from the United States of America into the EAC bloc.
U.S.A foreign direct investment (FDI) in Kenya (stock) was $353 million in 2019. In other East African countries, FDI from USA was $1.5 billion Tanzania, $42 million Uganda, $11 million Rwanda and $1 million Burundi in the year 2019.
The agreement outlines several areas of collaboration including showcasing trade and investment opportunities in the EAC bloc, industrial exchange programmes & trade missions to the USA, joint exhibitions & conferences, training programs & certifications.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr. John Bosco Kalisa said, “EABC and AGCC partnership is set to improve joint ventures, production capacities and technology transfer between businesses in East Africa and USA.”
He 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.
On his part, Mr. 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”.
He stated that the MoU signing 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 – Agenda 2063. He explained that AGCC has mobilized diaspora to invest and setup a smart city in Malindi, Kenya.
The EAC bloc benefits from preferential market access to the U.S under African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). In 2015, EAC and 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 Internation Trade Centre, in 2019 EAC bloc imports of goods from USA stood at USD.1.124 billion while exports reached USD.704 million. This value declined to USD.963,010 and USD.681,299 respectively in 2020 due to disruptions by COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. 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. He stated that AGOA has integrated the EAC bloc’s apparel sector into the global value chains.
The 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 via AGOA, environmental & climate change innovations and co-organizing the East African Business and Investment Summit 2022.
The Africa Global Chamber of Commerce (AGCC) is a Chicago-based not-for-profit corporation that specializes 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.
Locally, AGCC strives to serve businesses and professionals seeking business opportunities, while also, facilitating mutual commerce between US and Africa. AGCC is based in Chicago, Illinois.