Deputy President William Ruto has urged the private sector to play its role effectively in accelerating trade among the East African Community (EAC) member countries.
Mr Ruto said the private sector should encourage business entities and partnerships across the EAC region instead of individual countries.
“There is need for us to encourage a situation where we should have companies with partners from the six EAC member countries. By doing this we will make our integration a reality,” said Mr Ruto during a meeting with the East African Business Council (EABC) at his Karen office, Nairobi 21 June, 2016.
“At the moment, what we have is business silos that are based on individual countries and what we want to see is business companies with Tanzanian, Rwandan or Ugandan counterparts and vice versa.”
By doing this, the Deputy President said the private sector would be able to push and influence policy when they work as regional and not individual entities.
Mr Ruto said governments in the region should create a conducive environment including improvement of infrastructure if the private sector took the lead by coming up with proposals aimed at accelerating the integration process.
He urged businesspeople in the EAC to consider forming a strong company and one common market so as to have a better bargaining power in soliciting tenders for mega projects.
“You will be better off when you present yourselves under companies bearing EAC symbol than your individual countries when competing for tenders to undertake mega projects within the region,” said Mr Ruto.
He said the current situation where each country had its own market does not augur well especially now that the integration process is being accelerated.
“We should have one common market that brings together all the six countries. This will give a true meaning of the EAC spirit,” said Mr Ruto.
Present were EABC chairman Econie Nijimbere, Cabinet Secretaries Phyllis Kandie (EAC Affairs), Adan Mohammed (Industrialisation), Charles Keter (Energy), James Macharia (Transport), Joseph Nkaisery (Interior) and Henry Rotich (Treasury).
Others were EABC Director Lilian Awinja, Principal Secretaries Betty Maina (EAC), Karanja Kibicho (Interior) and Julius Korir (Trade).