Thursday, May 28, 2009

2nd EAC investment conference in Nairobi, Kenya 24-27 June 2009

ARUSHA, Tanzania, April 2, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The 2nd EAC Investment Conference will be held from 24-27 June, 2009, the Secretary General of the EAC, Ambassador Juma Mwapachu has announced.

Flanked by the CEOs of Investment Promotion Agencies (or their representatives) from the five Partner States, Amb. Mwapachu announced at a press conference held at the EAC headquarters that the Government of the Republic of Kenya in conjunction with the EAC Secretariat and the East African Business Council (EABC) and the region’s Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) of the Partner States will hold the conference in Nairobi, Kenya.

The conference, agreed to be held annually in the EAC capitals on a rotational basis, was first held in Kigali, Rwanda last year. The conference, which will examine the key investment opportunities in the Partner States of the Community, brings together policy makers, business leaders and the international investors community to debate the investment potential of the EAC region and the progress towards the Common Market and Monetary Union stages of integration. Views will also be shared about establishing an investment area agreement in the Community.

Heads of State of the EAC Partner States, as well as other top government officials are expected to grace the conference, whose participation is estimated at over 2000 with representation from the key economies in the region and international delegations from over 30 countries worldwide.

This year, the event dubbed ‘East African Community- One Market One Destination” aims to showcase investment opportunities in the region, but will also feature discussions on harnessing the current global economic crisis to the region’s gain, the Secretary General added.

The key focus will be on sectors such as banking and finance, ICT, services, tourism, infrastructure, Diaspora remittances and public- private dialogue.

In a significant departure from the inaugural event in Kigali, this year’s edition will feature guest participation by India, bringing on board top business and government officials to enrich the gathering. The EAC and the Government of India have an existing cooperation agreement in which investment and trade are key components.

The Conference will yet again be structured in plenary sessions, panel discussions, debates and live on stage interviews.

Expected to feature in discussions include the road towards the EAC Common Market and the Monetary Union, EAC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations, the investment environment, overcoming the challenges of the global liquidity and credit crunch, corporate finance in challenging conditions, challenges in the EAC economic integration agenda, infrastructure and non tariff barriers to trade.

At the press conference, Amb. Mwapachu also launched the EAC Investment website (http://www.eac.int/invest), which a part of the grand EAC Web Portal project that seeks to provide easy access to comprehensive information on the region covering all its key sectors. The Community portal is expected to go online in May 2009.

The press conference was also attended by Rose Ntawe, Burundi representative to EAC at the Burundian embassy in Dar es Salaam; Ken Manyala, General Manager (Investment Marketing and Promotion) – Kenya Investment Authority; Rosemary Mbabazi Mugisha, Acting Director General, Investment Promotion – Rwanda Development Board; Clare Akamanzi, Deputy CEO Business Operations and Services – Rwanda Development Board; Raymond Mbilinyi, Director, Investment Promotion – Tanzania Investment Center; Dr Maggie Kigozi, Executive Director, Uganda Investment Authority.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (1st ANNUAL EAC INVESTMENT CONFERENCE)

- The first EAC Investment Conference held in Kigali in June 2008 brought together over 1200 attendees from the region and the international community comprising 15 countries.

- All five Heads of State from the Community attended, all of whom underscored the need to support the business community.

- A great deal of business was transacted; initial reports from the national IPAs indicate that a sizeable number of projects have been registered arising from the conference. A case in point is Kenya Commercial Bank, which has since set up shop in Kigali and Zanzibar.