Businessmen have said that the private sector of the economic bloc which will be formed with 26 countries of the EAC, SADC, COMESA Conference next June requires government support of African countries.
Hussein Sabbour, head of the Egyptian Businessmen Association, said investment opportunities in African countries need the support of governments, business organizations and national banks in order to catch up with developed countries in Asia and South America.
Mustafa al-Ahwal, head of the Egyptian-East African Business Council, said the conference will play a major role in promoting economic cooperation.
Mahmoud Sherif Fahmy of the Industry and Trade Ministry said there have been 12 rounds of negotiations since 2011 to prepare for the conference. “It aims to liberalize trade and the movement of businessmen between the member states,” he said. “It also aims to reduce customs by 60 percent by 2016.”
He explained that customs for 25 percent of traded goods will be reduced within three to five years, with another 15 percent to be negotiated. “There are other restrictions that hinder trade between the member states, such as additional fees and red tape in releasing goods from customs,” he said.
Yomna al-Hamaky, professor of economics at Ain Shams University, said there should be benefits to take advantage of existing resources in each country without conflicting with national interests.
She also called for the development of transport and communication lines, information technology, tax and customs systems and import and export mechanisms among member states.