The Citizen | 12 November 2021
Tanzania leads East Africa in drawing American investments
By Zephania Ubwani
Tanzania leads the other East African Community (EAC) partner states in attracting investments from the United States, the world’s largest economy.
This emerged during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the East African Business Council (EABC) and the Africa Global Chamber of Commerce (AGCC) to lure more investments from the US.
According to EABC - an apex body of private sector associations in the region - total foreign direct investments from the US to Tanzania was $1.5 billion in 2019.
Tanzania is followed by Kenya - which received $353 million in the same year - followed by Uganda $42 million, Rwanda ($11 million) and Burundi which managed to attract $1 million in the same year (2019).
The agreement, signed on Wednesday, outlines several areas of collaboration, including showcasing trade and investment opportunities in the EAC bloc. These include industrial exchange programmes and trade missions to the USA, joint exhibitions and conferences, training programmes and certifications.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr John-Bosco Kalisa, EABC executive director, said the partnership is set to improve joint ventures, production capacities and technology transfers between businesses in East Africa and USA.”
He advised the AGCC to mobilise the African diaspora to invest in East Africa in lucrative sectors such as agri-business and digital innovations to support the economic recovery of the continent amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
For his part, AGCC Chairman Olivier Kamanzi said “AGCC is steadfast to kick-off this partnership, as USA investors are eager to visit and explore trade opportunities in the East African region”.
He stated that the MoU signing paves the way for the African diaspora and US investors to partner with the private sector in Africa and strongly drive the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the African Union Agenda 2063. He explained that AGCC has mobilised the diaspora to invest and set up a smart city in Malindi, Kenya.
The EAC bloc benefits from preferential market access to the US under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). In 2015, EAC and the US signed an Agreement on Trade Facilitation, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).
The EAC also initiated negotiations on EAC/US Investment Treaty, and inaugurated the EAC/US Commercial Dialogue.
According to the International Trade Centre (ITC), the EAC bloc imports of goods from US in 2019 stood at $1.124 billion while exports reached $704 million.
The values declined to $963,010 and $681,299 respectively in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Kalisa called for joint advocacy efforts to ensure the extension of the AGOA and commencement of negotiations EAC-US Free Trade Agreement in order to attract more investment into East Africa.
He stated that AGOA has integrated the EAC bloc’s apparel sector into the global value chains.
The partnership is set to boost trade and attract more USA investments in industrial parks, special economic zones, export processing zone in the EAC and unlock market access to U.S.A via AGOA, environmental and climate change innovations and co-organizing the East African Business and Investment Summit 2022.
AGCC is a Chicago-based not-for-profit corporation that specializes in promoting trade, investment, educational exposures, and cultural exchanges globally for Africa’s economic interest and its partners starting from the USA.
Locally, AGCC strives to serve businesses and professionals seeking business opportunities, while also facilitating mutual commerce between US and Africa. AGCC is based in Chicago, Illinois.