KEPSA led a 10 member delegation to the East African Trade in Services Forum hosted by the East Africa Business Council in Dar es Salaam with the support of the GIZ and the International Trade Center.  The forum was attended by over 60 representatives from various sectors including ICT, Culture, Sports, Entertainment and Tourism, Transport & Logistics, Banking & Insurance, Healthcare, Construction, Business & Professional Services including legal, engineering and Education sectors  from all 6 EAC partner states including the newest member, South Sudan.

The Forum noted that Trade in Services is an often ignored contributor to the national GDP of all partner states with over 30% of Kenya’s GDP attributed to Services. Services can be an important contributor to national exports and particularly towards increasing the export of value added products. Recent research has shown that full implementation of the 2009 Common Market Protocol would have seen a 67% increase in intra-regional trade. The research concluded that the EAC has lost about $4 Billion since 2009 due to this slow progress of implementation of the common market protocols. It was further noted that of the possible 136 sectors marked for liberalization, only 16 sectors have been liberalized by all partner states and most states were lagging behind in fulfilling the commitments they had made. The current liberalization landscape for the private sector has been complicated by differing commitments that partner states made creating a checker board of accessible markets for the private sector across the East African Community.

The EAC Partner States are currently reviewing the progress made in the implementation of the Common Market Protocols and examining opportunities to deepen the commitments made. This review will include consideration towards including the 5 service sectors not marked for liberalization in the current protocols. The partner states have set a target for each partner state to have 78 subsectors identified for liberalization at the end of the current negotiations process.

The East Africa Trade in Services Forum provided an opportunity for the private sector across all 6 EAC partner states to review the success to date and to develop proposals for consideration if we are to fully achieve the promise for increased trade and investment boosting private sector led growth across the region.  KEPSA is spearheading the development and engagement by various business member organizations representing the spectrum of service sectors in Kenya to see services grow in Kenya and the region.

To get involved or for further information, please contact Patrick Tonui at ptonui@kepsa.or.ke