Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Uhuru, Kagame to headline regional business summit.Drive Hot News

Partner Deloitte East Africa Martin Oduor Otieno, Citi Bank CEO Joyce Ann Wainaina, Chairman Comz Africa Ezra Bunyenyezi and CEO Nation Media Group Linus Gitahi at a past function on July 24, 2014. 


President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya will headline a key meeting of business leaders from across the region that starts Thursday morning in the Rwandan capital, Kigali. Several captains of industry are also attending the two-day East African Business Summit, which brings together the biggest number of industry leaders from across the region.
The two heads of state will take share their views on how businesses and governments can partner to bring about inclusive prosperity, in a session moderated by Joshua Oigara, the chief executive officer of Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB).
“If you look at the momentum of change, on infrastructure, on ICT, on energy, on policy, on security, the heads of states have already put in place a framework to achieve the milestones they have set,” Mr Oigara said yesterday.
“What we are looking for is more acceleration to realise the objectives they have set up for the businesses. We would also like to see strong engagement from the businesses. It is not necessarily the public sector or the government initiative,” he added.
The summit will also explore enterprise development, tax and fiscal policies across the region, managing mineral wealth, accelerating mobile phone commerce, as well as labour policies to allow creation of jobs and mobility of talent across East Africa.
“The region has seen a lot of progress, particularly in new investments in energy and transport infrastructure which will reduce the cost of doing business,” said Linus Gitahi, the chair of the summit, who is also the chief executive officer of Nation Media Group.
“We want to put our heads together and think of smart ways in which we can accelerate our efforts while also ensuring that prosperity is inclusive.”
Dr Richard Sezibera, the secretary general of the East African Community, is expected to speak at the opening ceremony while Dr Donald Kaberuka, the president of the African Development Bank, is expected to give a keynote speech on Friday.
At a press briefing before the summit, Josphat Mwaura, the CEO of KPMG Kenya said jobs and labour movement would be key items on the agenda.
“Every time you deny an investor a work permit you are denying 100 people jobs,” Mr Mwaura said. “These economies will not be growing fast enough to create jobs for everybody so we’ve got to find another way of engaging people in economic activity and I believe that route is entrepreneurship.”
Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore, Rwanda Development Board’s Francis Gatare, Trademark East Africa’s Frank Matsaert and Ali Mufuruki of Infotech Investment Group are some of many captains of industry expected to speak at the event.
The summit has also attracted several ministers from the region. These include Valentine Rugwabiza (Rwanda - East African Affairs), Francois Kanimba (Rwanda - Trade and Industry), Kenya’s cabinet secretary for industrialisation and enterprise development, Adan Mohamed, his Energy counterpart Davis Chirchir, as healthy as Tanzania’s labour minister Gaudentia Kabaka, among others.
The event will be covered live by NMG’s broadcast and online properties across the region.
The meeting comes just over a year before the December 2015 date when members of the East African Community are expected to have reached key benchmarks allowing for the free movement of people, goods, services and capital across the region.
The summit is organised by the Nation Media Group, Citi Bank, KPMG, Deloitte, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Serena Hotels.