East African investor lobby says pandemic recovery is on track
The East African Business Council (EABC) said on Wednesday that the economic recovery from COVID-19-related shocks in the region was on track thanks to the easing of travel restrictions, acceleration of vaccination and the renewed investor confidence.
John Bosco Kalisa, executive director of EABC, a regional body of private investors, said governments have made bold policy choices to accelerate the revival of key economic sectors like tourism, agriculture and industry that experienced a slowdown during the height of the pandemic.
He spoke at a virtual forum hosted by the EABC to discuss reviving trade and investment in the region after a crisis triggered by pandemic containment measures such as closures and curfews . âWe are working on a post-COVID-19 recovery strategy targeting sectors that have a huge impact on economies and livelihoods in the region,â Kalisa noted.
Kalisa said senior politicians and investors in the region have started a dialogue to explore tax incentives that can be put in place to speed up recovery from a pandemic, restore businesses and jobs. Reforming the tax system, harmonizing policies and negotiating low-interest loans with lenders have been prioritized in order to rebuild the region’s economies.
Rashid Kibowa, director of trade at the East African Community (EAC) secretariat, said that the implementation of an economic recovery strategy focused on improving cross-border trade and investment that had launched at the start of the pandemic had accelerated.
According to Kibowa, the strategy emphasizes trade facilitation, investment promotion, improvement of transport logistics, revival of tourism, agriculture and manufacturing.
He noted that intra-regional trade declined by 5.5% in 2020 due to the disruption caused by the pandemic on supply chains, adding that the easing of containment measures had gradually restored the cross-border movement of goods. and services.
Kibowa said EAC member states have revived their COVID-19 mitigation measures while streamlining regional supply chains and promoting e-commerce to accelerate economic recovery.
He said that encouraging the diaspora community to invest in their home country, creating innovation hubs, promoting exports and funding start-ups have been identified as the key to recovery in the event pandemic in the region.