Following the successful conclusion of the partnership project with the Association of Ghana Industries, the BDI initiated a similar project with the East African Business Council (EABC) to further implement its Sub-Saharan Africa strategy. In the new association partnership project, which is initially scheduled to run for three years, we aim to jointly represent the interests of the private sector in the East African Community (EAC) more effectively. This includes making the promised regional economic integration within the EAC more tangible and visible for companies. The EABC’s work should give companies the opportunity to effectively express their concerns to political and administrative decision makers at EAC level, while the work of the BDI should enable EABC to make more effective use of its status as an observer at all EAC meetings as well as its right to be heard by the EAC. To achieve this goal, we at the BDI are supporting our East African partner association with our many years of experience as an intermediary between industry and politics, as an active representative of the interests of German industry at the highest political level, and through our cooperation expertise with associations in emerging countries.
Objectives of the partnership
The aim of the project is to support regional economic integration and the representation of private sector interests in East Africa, and help to create networks between German and East-African businesses and politicians.
With the increasingly free movement of goods, services and labour within the East African Community (EAC), productivity, competitiveness and economic growth are all expected to rise. The BDI will actively support its East African partner association in this process. The following are the main areas of focus in our cooperation activities:
- The BDI will contribute its expert knowledge so that EABC can represent private sector interests at EAC level in a stronger and more effective way.
- Communication between EABC and its members will be intensified with the help of the BDI.
- The membership base will be sustainably expanded with support of the BDI.
- EABC will shape its services more closely to demand and market them more successfully.
The cooperation and contacts with EABC will give the BDI valuable insights into the economic policy framework of East African countries – knowledge that we can use to benefit our companies. As well as creating our own local BDI networks, we also want to establish the EAC countries as potential business partners for German industry.
In order to develop a plan for achieving these goals, a kick-off workshop was held at EABC’s headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. The workshop brought together representatives from the EABC Secretariat, the member associations and a BDI delegation. Together we drafted a timeline complete with milestones and interim goals designed to help us achieve our goals of strengthening regional economic integration, ensuring the interests of the private sector in East Africa are more effectively represented, and developing networks between German and East African businesses and policymakers.