unctad.org | East African business must create jobs, support regional integration
East African business must create jobs, support regional integration
10 October 2016
Dr Kituyi
Business success comes with the responsibility to help with value addition, job creation, and regional integration, UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said ahead of an East African business conference in Nairobi.


Dr. Kituyi is due to speak at several events at the East African Business and Entrepreneurship Conference and Exhibition, which takes place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 10 to 13 October. The event brings together leaders from the government and private sectors in the East African Community (EAC) states, as well as entrepreneurs and investors from abroad.

"Countries such as Kenya have some of the most dynamic business people, demonstrated by extraordinary technological successes and innovation," Dr. Kituyi said.

"But business also benefits from value addition, job creation, and regional integration, and must do more to make these things happen," he added.

Analysts have long recognised that business has a critical role to play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including by creating jobs. More jobs, in turn, mean fairer growth, more social stability, and larger consumer markets.

In particular, regional integration and regional value chains still represent untapped opportunities. Meanwhile, technological change offers risks as well as opportunities.

On the one hand, East African countries like Kenya and Rwanda have led the way with innovation-led growth with such firms as mobile-banking company M-Pesa and RSwitch, Rwanda’s national e-payment system.

On the other hand, technological change and the use of more robots in manufacturing may mean that East African countries can no longer count on low wages as a competitive advantage.

"One of the most exciting questions for East African business must surely be to ask how can we stay ahead of the fast moving technological wave?," Dr. Kituyi said.

The East African Business and Entrepreneurship Conference and Exhibition, the first of its kind, will rotate annually in all partner states of the EAC in collaboration with their respective investment agencies.

The EAC is the regional intergovernmental organization mandated by the governments of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Sudan and Uganda to coordinate the East African economic, social and political integration agenda. Dozens of companies are attending the event, which is organized by the East Africa Business Council.


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