The newly appointed members are from East Africa Community states to represent diversity and present a balance of representation.
They include Tanzanian entrepreneur and philanthropist Ali Mufuruki who takes over as the chairman of the board. He is the Chairperson of Infotech Investment Group Limited where he is also the Chief Executive Officer. Other boards where he sits as the chairperson include Msingi Limited Kenya, Legacy Capital Partners Limited Tanzania and Chai Bora Limited Tanzania.
“The newly appointed board will work as advisors of Trade Mark East Africa. We will not be employees of the company. We also do not have any shares in the company which ensures that we remain objective to matters affecting company,” said the incoming chairman.
Rosette Chantal Rugamba from Rwanda will also sit on the board. Rugamba, who is currently the Managing Director of Songa Africa Limited, is an Aspen Global Leadership Network Fellow and special advisor to the Secretary General UN World Tourism Organization.
She also sits on other boards such as that of Equity Bank Rwanda, Sonarwa Insurance Company and Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund International among others.
Others to be appointed board members include Patrick Obath from Kenya who also sits at the board of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, Standard Chartered Bank Kenya, and Unga Group Holdings Limited among others. Obath is currently the Managing Consultant of Eduardo and Associates.
It will also include Anthony Mazoera from Burundi. Mazoera, who holds an MBA degree in information Systems and a BBA in Accounting, is currently the ECO of Econet Wireless Burundi and is a board member of Econet Wireless Burundi, Higher Life Foundation and Burundi Backbone System.
An American independent consultant, Earl Gast, also joins the board of Trade Mark East Africa. His background involves extensive work with the US Government in international developing and foreign policy. Gast has also worked in different organizations including USAID and as Missions Director Afghanistan.
Uganda’s Jacqueline Lutaya has also been chosen as a board member of Trade Mark East Africa. Lutaya currently serves as the president of ACCA Uganda. She is a Fellow of Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and Member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda among others.
The Chief Executive Officer of Trade Mark East Africa Frank Matsaert said that the selection process was quite intensive having received over five hundred applications to only settle for not more than ten members.
According to the company, an exhaustive search for individuals who have proven track records in their respective professions, will bring this expertise in the development sector, executive management and the donor community of the company.
“We did rigorous interviews to obtain the people we settled on. First, diversity was needed as we required equal presentation of all the communities in the region. Second, we needed people with first hand information on matters trade, governance and even leadership,” said Matsaert.
The work ahead of them
The appointment of board members comes at a time when Trade Mark East Africa is intensifying its work. For instance, over the last years, the company has supported partners to implement over one hundred and fifty projects spread across the region. These include port modernization projects at the Dar es Salaam and Mombasa Ports, improvements along the key Central and Northern transport corridors’.
Through this, they have supported the construction of thirteen one stop border posts, elimination of Non-Traffic Barriers, harmonization of standards and support to cross boarder traders.
“Overall, these and other TMEA interventions will contribute to reducing costs of doing business in East Africa. Combined, they will deliver US$17billion in benefits in the region.
Mufuruki also stated that the company is also eyeing easing trade for women who usually face discrimination especially at the boarders. According to the chairman, the company will now work hand in hand with the related organisations to eliminate this.
“Our other projects include creating thousands if not millions of jobs in the country, a project we know is doable.”