Ngatia promises new direction for continental free trade area

The new East Africa Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture (EACCIA) president Richard Ngatia has committed to supporting the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

“In my new role, I reiterate our commitment to supporting the East African Community (EAC) regional agenda and accelerating the implementation of AfCFTA, fostering an inclusive and equitable trade agenda for the prosperity of all,” said Ngatia.

He said under his leadership EACCIA remains steadfast in consolidating gains from trade liberalization schemes, empowering its members and partners to seize the abundant opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

“As the incoming President of the East Africa Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture (EACCIA), I am deeply honored to participate in this transformative event shaping investment prospects across the entire East Africa region,” said Ngatia during the Zanzibar Business Conference on Friday, December 15th, 2023.

Ngatia called on the EACIA member countries to harness the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), by leveraging on its myriad of opportunities to expand trade beyond borders.

“I call all the regional chapters to establish cross border and trade committees at national level, May this Conference culminate in meaningful networking and engagement, establishing a robust foundation for long-term collaboration and partnerships,” he said.

Ngatia said the East African Community (EAC) stands as one of the fastest-growing regional economic blocs, characterized by a significant youth and urban population.

“Somalia’s recent entry as the eighth member has expanded the EAC regional market to over 300 million people. In 2022, prior to Somalia’s inclusion, the combined gross domestic product of the EAC countries reached $305 billion, with a total trade value of $78.75 billion. It’s essential to highlight that women constitute at least 70% of cross-border traders, significantly contributing to intra-African trade,” said Ngatia.

Ngatia commended the outgoing EACIA President Hon Toufiq Salim TURKY and his team for their unwavering dedication in fostering collaboration among the Chambers of Commerce, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and Regional Mechanisms.

The President of Zanzibar Dr. Hussein Ali Mwinyi in a speech read on his behalf by the Minister for Trade, Industries and Marketing Omar Said Shaaban, congratulated Ngatia for his recent election as the new East Africa Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture (EACCIA) boss and committed his country’s support to the new board.

“I express gratitude to H.E. the President of Zanzibar Dr. Hussein Ali Mwinyi for hosting us on this remarkable island of Zanzibar, abundant with opportunities.

Additionally, the success of this event owes much to the generosity of our lead sponsors ABSA Bank and Nation Media Group, our partners, and all esteemed delegates present here,” said Ngatia.

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