Daily Monitor, Kampala
EAC service industry practitioners meet
By Faridah Kulabako, Kampala
5 October 2009
Services industry practitioners and representatives from the East African region met to discuss and seek ways of building services coalitions to confront challenges in the sector and help unlock the region’s economic potential.
The two-day workshop discussed the role of services coalitions in perusing services reforms, engage in trade negotiations, promote information and knowledge sharing amongst stakeholders and sought to promote consensus on services coalitions that can best serve the needs of EAC services operators.
Speaking at the opening ceremony in Kampala on Friday, the Vice Chairman of East African Business Council, Mr Gerald Sendaula said that despite the service sector being cited as critical to economic growth in the region, it lacked both regional and national level organisations to negotiate private sector’s interests at a regional and global level.
He said while several associations such as bankers, insurers, and professional societies have organised themselves into sector-specific associations, the absence of an industry-wide coalition meant that cross-cutting challenges affecting the sectors have not been properly addressed.
“Bringing together such diverse interests into a Service Coalition will complement efforts of industry specific associations and give you additional weight to promote private sector interests in service reforms,” said Mr Sendaula, who is also Uganda’s former Minister for Finance.
The workshop was organised by the East African Business Council and the International Lawyers and Economists Against Poverty. The services industry comprises of the finance, ICT, tourism, education, legal and accounting sectors among others.
Though the service industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the region, it still faces a number of constraints including limited supply capacity, inadequate laws and absence of national policies among others.