Adaptation of traditional and folklore garments will soon become commonplace in East African Countries as the seven-state regional block mulls dropping western Suits for local attires.
It is part of ongoing promotion of Buy East Africa Build East Africa (BEABEA), but will the idea ever materialize?
Discussions to that effect came up during the recently held, East African Community’s 38th Extra Ordinary Meeting of the Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment (Ex-SCTIFI).
The meeting dedicated to Industrialization was held in Moshi Municipality in Kilimanjaro.
The seven Partner States were advised to adopt the use of traditional or folklore wear as endorsed dresses for official events.
The Sectoral Council also made proposals on textile and textile articles to be moved to maximum band to stimulate local production; expand the harmonized cotton, Textiles and apparels (CTA) articles under duty remission.
They advised the development of modalities of developing leather industrial parks with common effluent treatment; among others.
They called for the establishment of digital platforms to support exchange of information on harvesting of cotton and trade of cotton lint in order to increase the intra EAC trade on the products.
Delegates also reflected the progress of the reports of the implementation of the directives in the sector, Cotton, Textiles and Apparel (CTA) Strategy; Leather and Leather Products Strategy and Automotive Industry Action Plan.
The meeting considered EAC Industrialization Policy Implementation Action Plan; the development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises; Fruits and Vegetables Strategy and Action Plan; and Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan of Action.
The Extra-Ordinary Sectoral Council adopted a Quality Management Self-Assessment Tool for Micro, Small and Medium (MSMEs) Enterprises’; the Terms of Reference for a Micro, Small and Medium (MSMEs) Enterprises Platform’ and the second Action Plan for the Implementation of the EAC Industrial Policy and Strategy, 2023-2028.
The Burundi Minister of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Audace Niyonzima, who chaired the Meeting, advised the Partner States to remove the restrictions and bottlenecks that impede industrial development in the region.
The EAC Director of Productive Sectors, Mr Jean Baptiste Havugimana, challenged the Partner States to adopt revolutionary and innovative approaches to implementing industrial policies if the anticipated economic growth in the regional policy was to be achieved.
“As a region we are not doing well in meeting the aspirations of the regional industrial policy targets,” he said.
He revealed that the Manufacturing Value Addition (MVA) growth has slowed down in recent years, from 5.3 percent between 2005 and 2010, to 4.6 percent between 2010 and 2021.
Essentially it has fallen short of the 10 percent annual growth rate envisaged in the EAC Industrialization Policy (2008-2032) and is nowhere near the double-digit growth envisioned.