Date: Wednesday, 06 November 2019
The three day event whose hallmark is to enhance regional integration has attracted nearly 300 decision makers and economic stakeholders representing the 14 countries.
Speakers in the meeting said that regional integration is key to sustain the exceptional economic growth experienced by East Africa over the past decade. They are also exploring ways on how to leverage new opportunities for regional integration.
Vera Songwe, the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission in Africa, opened the meeting insisting on the importance of increasing regional trade and implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area.
“By trading more among ourselves, we can build the equitable and balanced economies which can hold the promises the youth is looking for, and realize the dream of a prosperous Africa. In East Africa alone, the implementation of the AfCFTA could result in 1.8 billion USD welfare gains and the creation of 2 million new jobs.”
East Africa has been experiencing strong economic performance – around 6.6% on average since 2014 – but is still facing structural challenges. Climate change, refugee crises or health risks are transnational issues affecting several countries in the region. Such regional challenges, argues the ECA, require a regional response.
During the three-day meeting, participants also scheduled to discuss how to strengthen regional cooperation, from the socio-economic and political standpoint to the issues of regional trade and job creation.