EAST AFRICA BUSINESS COUNCIL TO FOCUS ON AGRICULTURE AT TWO-DAY FORUM

KAMPALA, As East Africa strives to increase intra-regional trade, the East Africa Business Council (EABC) has said it will place emphasis on agri-business development during its two-day forum to be held in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, next month.

EABC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lilian Awinja says agro-processing, including of food, beverages and tobacco, together with the apparel and leather sectors, contribute almost 40 per cent of the sub-region’s manufactured exports, and should therefore be given attention.

East Africa needs to boost the agriculture value-chains and the transformation of agro raw materials into sustainable and highly marketable commodities which are competitive at regional and international markets, she adds. “We need a paradigm shift from subsistence agriculture to agri-business, which offers a path to reduce food insecurity and boost regions’ competitiveness in the agricultural sector.”

Agriculture accounts for about 34.7 per cent of East Africa’s total gross domestic product (GDP), making it the second largest sector, with more than 75 per cent of the population reliant on it.

The conference is expected to attract some 400 high-level decision-makers and business leaders from the sub-region and beyond. The EABC is the apex advocacy body of business associations of the private sector and corporates from the East African countries and was established in 1997 to foster the interests of the private sector in the integration process of the six-nation East African Community (EAC).

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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