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ACBF boosts East African private sector

DAR ES SALAAM, Jul 23 – The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) will on Friday sign two Grant Agreements with the East African Business Council (EABC) and with the Tanzania Global Development Learning Centre (TGDLC).

The USD 1.8 million four-year Grant to EABC will support the Council in delivering its ambitious work program, envisaged to help build the capacities of the private sector in the East Africa region. 

The project, entitled, “Deepening Private Sector Participation in East Africa’s Economic Integration” will augment the on-going regional economic integration efforts and the role this plays in fostering stronger growth and alleviating poverty.  The $500,000 three-year grant to TGDLC is for the implementation of the Tanzania Country Level Knowledge Network (TZ CLK-NET) project. 

The signing of the EABC Grant comes at an opportune time when the East Africa Community (EAC) Common Market has been launched.  The free movement of capital, labour, goods and services will create a heavier demand on the private sector to produce quality goods and services.  Regional integration is one of Africa’s priorities in overcoming fragmentation across the Continent and reducing Africa’s economic marginalisation.

In a statement, prior to the signing ceremony, ACBF Executive Secretary, Dr Frannie Léautier said: “The Grant being made by ACBF is in recognition of the important and successful role that EABC has played in demonstrating its potential in representing the interests of its private sector members. This not only influences the development of private sector policies, but also engages with the political leadership within the East Africa region.  As a Foundation, we are cognisant of the fact that the East Africa Treaty places emphasis on private sector development as critical for the success of the integration process in Eastern Africa.  The East Africa Community Private Sector Development Strategy (EAC-PSDS) provides an incentive framework for facilitating and promoting private sector development.  It pays great emphasis on improving the business environment, and on the institutional and human capacity development necessary for increased trade and investment.” 

Over the next four years, EABC will strive to develop both human and institutional capacities, by supporting the harmonisation of business related policies, laws and regulations; creating trade negotiation capacities among EABC members; enhancing corporate governance principles and practices, as well as participation in business and regional trade related fora. The four-year project aims to strengthen EABC’s institutional capacity, policy studies and business surveys; promote networking and information sharing and enhance membership capacity development and support.

As the role of private sector institutions in Africa keeps evolving, it must be recognised that the private sector is a force for growth and therefore contributes towards poverty reduction.  African countries, governments and stakeholders all play a part in building a conducive environment for the investment and promotion of regulatory frameworks and legal business frameworks.  

In recent years, efforts have been made by Tanzanian academics, researchers, policymakers and the public sector in knowledge sharing, advocacy and networking for policy formulation.  TZ CLK-NET will be linked with Tanzania’s development philosophy, Vision 2025, which calls for the promotion of a learning-oriented society as a key to improving living standards. TZ CLK-NET will address the gap in the exchange of information and learning, as current knowledge is not being shared systematically between all stakeholders, thus slowing down the learning process. 

The absence of effective platforms for generating and sharing information on past experiences can result in inconsistencies between policies and broader socioeconomic benefits.  

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ACBF Executive Secretary, Dr Frannie Léautier, emphasized that “CLK-NETs leverage the knowledge of national professionals and those in the Diaspora, through electronic discussion boards and similar platforms, in order to gather information that is then made available to policymakers for input in their development policy planning, design, reform, implementation and evaluation. We are delighted to provide this the three-year grant to TZ CLK-NET, which will enable the development of a knowledge-clearing house that will systematically gather, synthesise, utilise and disseminate knowledge and information to stakeholders, including government, civil society organisations, academia and private sector.”

TZ CLK-NET’s goal is to promote peer learning and create broad – based participation, involvement and debate on key issues of national concern, including management of development policies and programmes via a consultative process. 

Once established and fully functional, TZ CLK-NET will be a valuable knowledge hub and a community of practice for policymakers. It has the potential to become a value-adding resource for Ministers of Finance, Planning and Public Service, Central and Reserve Bank Governors, Chambers of Commerce and Industries and other development policy management stakeholders.

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