NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 28 – The East African Community Business & Investment Forum (EAC-BIF) was held on Tuesday, bringing together the business community and investors from the East African countries and Sweden.
Initially scheduled to be held in Stockholm, the one-day forum was instead held entirely virtually due to the Covid-19 plague and the resulting restrictions that have negatively affected travel and physical interaction.
The EAC-BIF is a key annual business event with the aim of promoting business flow, trade and investments between Sweden and the East Africa countries. Like the previous years, the April 2021 forum was organised by the Embassies from the East African Community (EAC) accredited to Sweden in partnership with the Swedish-East Africa Chamber of Commerce (SWEACC) and other key economic players in the participating countries.
Held every year since 2012, the EAC-BIF continues to promote business flow, trade and investments between Sweden, other Nordic countries, and the EAC.
The conferences give opportunities for Business to Business (B2B), Government to Government (G2G) and Government to Business (G2B) initiatives to develop new, meaningful, and sustainable technological exchanges, trade and investment partnerships between business communities in Sweden and the EAC region. The Business Forum continues to generate forward-looking insights into new avenues for global growth and transformation.
Operating under the theme “Green Solutions for Cities in Africa,” the focus of the current Business Forum was on three thematic areas: Waste to Energy, Water and Sanitation, and Green Transport.
Green Solutions for Cities is an area of great interest globally, especially in the EAC countries with rapid urbanization. This calls for efficient solutions to address the inevitable implications on public health, security, and the environment. Sweden has a strong business sector capable of offering not only financially sustainable solutions, but also capacity building.
The dynamic and inclusive digital conference brought together notable keynote speakers such as popular business people, government ministers and other stakeholders. This participation ensured a strong emphasis on networking opportunities between businesses, organisations, investors, government representatives and between East Africa, and The Nordic region.
Some of the keynote speakers were Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Trade and Nordic Affairs Ms. Anna Hallberg, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development, Mrs. Betty Maina; Tanzania’s Minister of Industry and Trade Professor Kitila Mkumbo, and Hon. Amelia Kyambadde, Uganda’s Cabinet Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives. Also present as keynote speakers were the Minister for ICT and Innovation of Rwanda Hon. Paula Ingabire.
Other speakers include the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) Chief Executive Officer Ms. Carole Karuga and the heads of the chambers of commerce from Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Mr. Vimal Shah, the Chairman of Bidco Africa also attended the event. Bidco Africa is East Africa’s leading manufacturer of edible oils, hygiene and personal care products.
The diplomatic community was represented by Kenya’s ambassador to Sweden with multiple accreditations to Denmark, Iceland, Finland and Norway, Amb. Diana Kiambuthi. Amb. Dr. Wilbrod Slaa represented Tanzania while Rwanda was represented by Ambassador Christine Nkulikiyinka. She is also the Dean of the East African ambassadors in Sweden.