, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 22 – The East African Community private sector is set to form a Sh1.9 billion fund in a bid to increase their role in the integration of the community within a period of three years.
The fund will be used to address various challenges facing the private sector within the EAC while also funding programmes and infrastructure projects within the region.
The East African Community Secretary General Ambassador Richard Sezibera says the fund will be launched on November this year by EAC head of states and thereafter be fully operationalised by 2016.
“The private sector will set those issues that they want prioritised; we want to increase the private sector role within the region,” he stated.
He was addressing journalists on Wednesday after meeting various head of corporates in the country and the region who he said have already adopted the move.
“They will be contributing on different levels…companies will make decision on what amount they want to contribute,” he said.
Some of the benefits of the funds he said will include pushing for a common standard of products produced within the region and harmonisation of taxes.
The fund was welcomed by the East African Business Council Chairman Felix Mosha who said, “It is a historic initiative. The private sector in East Africa is the principal beneficially of an integrated East African community.”
Mosha said the initiative will be implemented in close collaboration with the council.
“The initiative will allow the private sector within the East African Community to compliment the contributions of governments towards driving the integration process,” he stated.
The fund, he said will reduce the over-reliance of donor funding towards the integration process.
“The fund is intended to fund the activities which are not presently funded…once the fund is put place, it will be possible,” he said.
Such projects include streamlining the Labour conditions, establishment of single custom territory among other projects.