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EA firms urged to look beyond their borders

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 6 – Companies and businesses in the east African region have been challenged to explore opportunities outside their countries to expand.
African Alliance Kenya Chairman Dr Dan Kagagi said east Africa provides immense opportunities for investors to get high returns with numerous developmental activities taking place.
Dr Kagagi said as a frontier destination, the region provides rewarding prospects for companies to take their businesses to the next level.
"Investors are looking for opportunities in emerging markets. East Africa is facing exciting times and it makes sense for any investor as a place to do business," Dr Kagagi said.
Since the EAC Common Market Protocol came into force on July 1, economic prospects for the region\’s member states look certain for increased business activity. It boasts of a population of roughly 120 million, which provides a large market for regional businesses.
Speaking on the sidelines of the East African Investment Conference in Nairobi on Monday, Dr Kagagi highlighted a number of Kenyan companies that had already forayed into the EAC market, with some going as far as cross listing on regional bourses.
He was however critical of the slow pace at which firms from other countries in the region have taken to venture outside of their borders.
"We must foster the integration of our regional exchanges by first taking the bold step of looking for new markets and taking full advantage of them," he said.
Top Chief Executives attending the two-day conference concurred arguing that investors would also be well advised to look at new areas for their investments.
In April, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected that in 2010, Kenya – East Africa\’s biggest economy – would grow by 4.1 percent. Uganda was placed at 5.6 percent, Tanzania 6.2 percent, Rwanda 5.4 percent, and Burundi, 3.9 percent.
Southern Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo are the other neighbours with substantial opportunities including infrastructure linkages such as transits to ports, energy, communication, and cross-border trade.

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