Preparations are in high gear for the 2nd East African Manufacturing Business Summit and Exhibition (EAMBS) to be held in Kigali, Rwanda from 23rd to 25th May 2017.
The EAMBS Conference and Exhibition is being organized against a backdrop of economic resurgence and high political commitment to pursue development driven by industrialization. The forum therefore stands to offer an important platform for governments in the region to engage the private sector on critical steps needed to leverage higher levels of investment in manufacturing.
Speaking during a press conference after the conclusion of the Regional Steering Committee’s meeting for the preparations of 2nd East African Manufacturing Business Summit and Exhibition in Kigali, Minister of Trade, Industry and East Africa Community Affairs in Rwanda, Hon. Francois Kanimba said that the conference seeks to create an avenue for the private sector to advocate and campaign for the acceleration of industrial reforms aimed at improvement of investment conditions in the EAC strategic sectors.
Accompanied by Hon. Christophe Bazivamo, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, Hon. Kanimba informed the press that the EAC region has already identified strategic areas for industrial development in the region that bear comparative advantages and where significant private sector investment is needed to unlock the potential. These strategic sectors include: agro- processing and agri-business; mineral processing; pharmaceuticals; construction materials; fertilizers & agro-chemicals as well as the strengthened leather & textiles and automotive sector, stated Hon. Kanimba.
The Hon. Minister noted that the EAMBS and Exhibition is expected to create a greater awareness about the opportunities and challenges arising from the Common Market Protocol for the regional manufacturing sector.
The Minister disclosed to the press that some of the key-issues to be addressed at the 2nd East African Manufacturing Business Summit (EAMBS) include;
• How can the region market itself best? Where are the major investment opportunities (IPAs)?
• What are currently the biggest challenges for regional manufacturers and how should they be addressed?
• What are the success factors for manufacturers in the EAC?
• How to gain competitiveness in price and quality?
• How to deal with environmental concerns?
• What do governments do in order to push local manufacturers (e.g. local content at procurement of public entities)?
• What can be done against counterfeits, illicit trade and IP violations?
• Can the development of a regional identity (proud to “Buy East African Build East Africa”) help to promote and strengthen the internal market? How (and by whom) should that be done?
• How important is customer service (thus customer satisfaction?) and customer awareness?
• How to develop qualified labor force (industrial skills)?
• What sectors are most affected by EAC regulations (positive and negative)?
• Is there a specific need for action that can be addressed during the conference?
• What role can the East African Diaspora play? Which supportive financing schemes are in place (Diaspora Banking)?
On his part, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo told the press that the Steering Committee Meeting appreciated results from the 2015 event and is building on them to prepare for the next event. “As regards recommendations from the first Business Summit, we developed action plans and policies which are helping the manufacturing sector in our region,” added Hon. Bazivamo.
The EAMBS conference will include an exhibition where investors, enterprises, researchers and academia collectively showcase new products and services as well as exhibit the latest advances in manufacturing technology and innovation, particularly those with relevance to small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
The 2nd EAMBS is expected to create greater awareness about the opportunities and challenges arising from the Common Market Protocol for the regional manufacturing sector. It is supposed to serve as a platform not only for initial business contacts, but also for exchange of ideas on how to address the existing challenges in the regional integration process.
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