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Kibaki praises EAC performance

DAR-ES-SALAAM, Apr 19 – President Mwai Kibaki who is on a three day official visit in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania on Tuesday hosted a presidential roundtable to discuss investment opportunities in Kenya with business leaders.

The forum which involved high level interactive deliberations on investment was sponsored by key private sector players in Kenya led by Equity Bank, Kenya Commercial Bank in conjunction with the Kenya Investment Authority.

During the Presidential roundtable, held at Mlimani City Conference Centre in Dar-es-Salaam, President Kibaki noted that the East African Community had experienced significant economic growth in the last few years.

The President emphasised that the impressive performance was largely attributable to policy reforms including prudent monetary and fiscal measures, which have particularly been pursued by partner states for the past one decade.

He hailed EAC for the significant strides made so far in the integration process, especially the achievement of a fully fledged Customs Union and a Common Market.

The Head of State said that these milestones had heralded wider reforms of conducting business in the region and assured that the partner states were working towards consolidating these gains.

President Kibaki, who is attending the 9th African Investment Forum and the 9th Extraordinary Summit of the East African Community Heads of State, affirmed that such forums help the region to showcase investment opportunities and enable business firms to explore means of strengthening partnerships between investors and governments.

Said the President: "I welcome you all to the Kenya Presidential Roundtable to discuss investment and investment opportunities in Kenya."

The President added: "I am confident that this roundtable will result in worthwhile discussions that will in turn lead to investments that will create wealth and sustainable development for the people of Kenya and East Africa."

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Earlier President Kibaki joined other East African Community Heads of State at the same venue for the official opening ceremony of the 9th Africa Investment Forum.

The forum whose theme is "Accelerating Investment in East Africa and Increasing Access to a Market of a Billion People" brought together EAC leaders, the region\’s governmental authorities, major private sector players from across Africa and the Commonwealth.

Kenya\’s major private sector players who actively participated in the forum included Equity Bank, Kenya Commercial Bank, ECO Bank while Kenya Investment Authority represented governmental authorities.

The 9th Africa Investment Forum 2011 (AIF) was organised by the Commonwealth Business Council in collaboration with the Government of The United Republic of Tanzania and the East African Community.

The forum was addressed by Chairperson of the East African Community, President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi and President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania.

In his address President Nkurunziza said that the EAC region as keen and committed to attracting investments and business in the area so as to improve the living standards of its citizens.

President Nkurunziza noted that the region was enjoying strong political stability that supported free movement of people, goods, services, capital and upholding of the right of residence.

He called for reinforced development of infrastructure and energy sectors to facilitate timely achievement of the community\’s objectives.

In his keynote address, President Kikwete said that many developing countries continued to struggle to move their citizens from poverty to prosperity through economic growth.

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President Kikwete however regretted that no economic growth would be attained without investments and commended the EAC members for undertaking vigorous campaigns to promote investments in their countries but with benefits accruing to the larger integration area.

During the occasion the EAC leaders launched the book, "East African Community Investment Guide."

The forum was attended by Ministers, senior government officials from the EAC member States, Chairmen, board members, CEOs, MDs of leading companies and representatives of multinational agencies from across Africa and Commonwealth.

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