The East African Community (EAC) has projected an economic rebound for the region in 2021. This projection will only work if EAC Partner States Governments strengthen economic policy coordination and adopt a regional coordinated approach in handling the COVID-19 pandemic.
EABC Chairman Mr. Nick Nesbitt noted that the region is projected to recover steadily but it was dependent on how the pandemic is handled.
Speaking during a press call on the State of EAC Economies amid the pandemic in Nairobi, Mr. Nesbitt emphasized the need for the EAC secretariat to fast-track a regional harmonized approach to promptly facilitate interventions at EAC border points to unclog trade blockages and facilitate faster clearance of goods.
The East African Business Council, EABC, has been emphasizing the need for EAC Partner States to harmonize COVID-19 related charges and stop testing at border posts, to avoid delays in truck and cargo clearance within the region.
This year, East Africa’s inflation is projected to stand at 15.4 percent in the baseline scenario and 16.0% in the worst-case scenario. This, with Kenya’s inflation, projected to stand at 4.9 percent in the baseline scenario and 4.6% in the worst-case scenario in 2021 (AfDB).
EABC CEO, Dr. Peter Mathuki noted that macro-economic policy coordination in the EAC with a tighter monetary policy stance is necessary, to control inflationary pressure and foreign exchange volatility.
Dr. Mathuki also added that while it was critical for Kenya to sign an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the UK, to avoid losing out on trade, the region’s unity to the deal will enable the bloc to export larger volumes of goods and enjoy economies of scale by marketing as one investment destination.
“It is more beneficial if the EAC region is marketed as a single investment destination,” he said.
He further urged EAC Partner States to take advantage of the new USA Government and approach it with a bid to revive the negotiations and implementation of the EAC-US Trade and Investment Partnership which were stalled since 2016.
The meeting was also attended by regional business leaders and other development partners.