Sustainable businesses between East African Community (EAC) and Nordics were created at the just concluded investment and Trade forum in Gävle, Sweden. The East African community (EAC) is the regional inter-government organization which comprises of five countries which are Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. A region that has over 141.1 million people with a total area (including water) of 1.82 million square kilometer and GDP at $99.8 billion (Source:here)
The conference was held to facilitate trade between Sweden and EAC in areas like Manufacturing, Infrastructure, Transport, Logistics, Financial and Consultant services, Energy, Agriculture and Tourism. It was also an awakening opportunity for Sweden to take its rightful place among leading nations that invests in EAC. Eva Walder, Director- General for Trade, Swedish ministry of Foreign Affairs said in her opening speech “We see a new Africa emerging with an increasing number of democracies, very strong growth and a growing middle class.”
Fredrick Owiti, an EAC delegate wondered why the Nordics are inactive in investment in East Africa compared to the Chinese in spite of huge capital movement, Non-discrimination policies, common market protocol and common passport (East Africa passport) for easy movement across the country’s borders.
Lilian Awinja, a representative of East African Business Council, called the attention of the Swedish authority to the challenges they faced in securing Visa in East Africa which pose serious threat to the business partners that might want to come to Sweden. However, Charlotte Kalin, CEO at Chamber of Trade Sweden and also the moderator at the conference advised the business partners from Africa to always apply for their visa on time, make their company known to their respective home country embassy through contact and attend their embassy functions to facilitate better relationship.
Dr. Joe Sang, Kenya's ambassador in Stockholm in his closing remark stressed the importance of direct collaboration between East Africa and the Nordic countries as an important key to growth. The conference was organized by Connect East Africa, an independent platform devoted to trade & interchanges with the East African countries and supported by the Region of Gävleborg and Gävle.
Anna Långström presented Swedfund
Andreas Skinnars from Business Sweden
Lisa Karanja from TradeMark East Africa, kenya
Carl Johan Karlsson from EKN Anna Långström from Swedfund
Dr. Joe Sang, Kenya's ambassador in Stockholm
Venetia Sebudandi, Rwanda's ambassador in Stockholm
Frederick Owiti EAC delegate
Daniella Woldemicheal,NABA representative Dorothy Tuma
Charlotte Kalin, CEO at Chamber of Trade Sweden
Lilian Awinja from East African Business Council Tanzania
Cross section of participants at main plenary section
Birgitta Piippola, Founder of Connect East Africa
Cross section of participants at the conference
Photograph by: Tapjs