AFRICA CHAMBERS LEADERS’ FORUM NAIROBI DECLARATIONS
Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted the African Chamber leaders together by the President of World Chamber Federation Mr. Peter Mihok on 23rd and 24th October 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya. The key objective of the forum was to discuss the progress of African Continental Free Trade Area and the bulk of the chambers of commerce membership base.
THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NAIROBI FORUM
Meeting with the President of the Republic of Kenya
The meeting started with a Press briefing from the KNCCI head office after which the delegates paid a courtesy call to H. E. the President of the Republic of Kenya where they discussed the private sector support to government in lobbying for the ratification as well as the President to be the goodwill Ambassador for African Chambers in spearheading the voice of the business community. The main forum at Weston Hotel, Nairobi highlighted the key role of African Chambers in ACFTA, Cross cutting challenges encountered by African Chamber and role of PACCI in promoting Intra Africa Trade.
Meeting with the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya
The DP hosted the African Chambers delegates to a luncheon at his Karen home, in the outskirts of Nairobi during the second day of the meeting.
The DP affirmed the Government’s commitment to supporting SME’s and the establishment of a fund to extend credit at affordable interest rates.
The request for Chambers to be accorded the issuing of all COO’s would be an item for discussion, as KNCCI was now on a credible footing.
In respect of the backlog of outstanding payments due to vendors, Government has taken a Cabinet decision to suspend further procurement until the backlog payments are settled.
The Final Outcome of the Nairobi Meeting
The uniqueness of the Nairobi meeting was that the African Chambers delegates were also able to participate and listen in on the deliberations of KNCCI’s National Governing Council (NGC) meeting which had been called to adopt the amendment of some clauses in the Memorandum and Articles of Association which govern the Kenya chamber.
RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED BY THE AFRICAN CHAMBER LEADERS FORUM HELD IN NAIROBI ON THE 24TH AND 25TH OCTOBER 2018
Sponsors: Kenya, Pacci, Uganda, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Seychelles, Liberia, Zambia, Rwanda, Congo
Signatories: Djibouti, Somaliland, Mozambique, Tanzania, Comoros, South-Africa, EACCIA
Committee: African Chamber Leaders
Agenda: The Role of African Chambers in promoting the progress of African Continental Free Trade Area
The African Chamber Leaders
Adopts the following declarations:
Whereas, the key objective of the forum was to discuss the progress of African Continental Free Trade Area and the bulk of the chambers of commerce membership base,
Whereas, affirms the role of MSMEs in the Economic Development of the African Continent which constitute Memorandum of Understanding whereby the African Chamber leaders through PACCI, signed with the Department of Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa in November 2013,
Whereas, recognizes that the African business community has a key role to play during all phases of the Agreement, which include negotiating reforms and subsequently implementing and monitoring them through public-private partnerships,
Whereas, expressing its satisfaction that PACCI should lead an effort by the continent’s business community to promote the intra-African trade which is crucial for the continent’s development,
Whereas, the Nairobi business meeting takes into consideration the following;
- The need and importance for the private sector groups to expand their knowledge on the AfCFTA,
- Facilitate to enhance their advocacy skills and form common positions on issues to engage effectively in public-private dialogue mechanisms,
- Recognized that the AfCFTA is a step forward towards realizing the Pan-African dream for continental integration through trade,
- Affirms the African unity dream which has always been the hope to realize the goal of the African union to a full political and economic independence,
- Ensure that AfCFTA responds to Africa’s Agenda 2063.
It was Resolved, that the African Chamber Leaders Forum (ACLF):
- Calls upon the African Chambers to actively participate in the on-going negotiations on trade agreements and policies and lobby their respective governments to ratify the AfCFTA:
- Encourages African countries to embrace the practice of arbitration as a revenue generating activity in conjunction with ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) for sustainability:
- Recommends that the Kenyan Chamber Patron President Uhuru Kenyatta becomes a Goodwill Ambassador of the African Chambers of Commerce to achieve the following;
- a) Support the appointment to spearhead the agenda of the Chambers which is the Voice of private sector in African Countries; and,
- b) To achieve observer status at AU and convene heads of Chamber meetings alongside AU meetings;
- Emphasizes the issuance of COO and ATA Carnet becomes a primary mandate of all African Chambers as global trade facilitation:
- Recognizes that SME growth is key for economic development and creation of jobs through:
- Supporting the need for Chambers to lobby formalization of the SME Sectors;
- Recommending the Governments to set aside funds and create mechanisms for funds availability to SME sector;
- Considers that African Governments should complete acquisition of shares in African Trade Insurance Agency based in Kenya for the express purpose of mitigating risk in their respective countries:
- Recognizes that the chambers should establish or take control of weigh stations and host Government Functionaries at border points and corridors to minimize transit barriers:
- Emphasizes Chambers to be involved in the development of the TVET Curriculum as a way to improve skilled manpower for enterprise growth:
- Expresses its concern to all African Chambers to support the work of the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and by extension increase its participation in ICC/WCF:
- Confirms that African Chambers are committed to fighting corruption as a means to provide a conducive environment for business sustainability:
- Encourages African Chambers to commit to working with Governments towards developing an Africa/China policy based on shared information across countries:
- Emphasizes that African Chambers ensure all meetings are tri-lingual – English, French and Portuguese:
- Urges African Chamber Leaders to promote intra-African trade investment and pursue opportunities at global forums/platforms:
- Draws the attention that African Chambers should establish Youth and Women Empowerment Programs:
- Calls upon all the African Chamber Leaders be committed to attend the meeting in Cairo, Egypt on 17th December 2018, to discuss restructuring PACCI:
- Affirms that the ratification of AfCFTA does not make it a necessary work on the ground, since it is a necessary framework agreement:
- Draws the attention that that there was need to avoid multiplication of rules of origin and other related procedures:
- Advocates for workable level of liberalization and flexibility. They expressed their concern that calling for the elimination of all tariffs is not realistic nor feasible since each FTA has an exclusion list:
- Reaffirms that the tariff liberalization in itself does not necessarily boost trade. There is a need for infrastructure as well as logistics such as Maritime transport to be improved and developed:
- Expresses its hope for the need of digital solutions to facilitate the negotiations process, increase transparency and reduce costs related to negotiations by avoiding travelling. Such initiative would increase visibility and credibility of African Chambers:
- Approves that the Kenya Chamber National Chairman to be the convener of future Meetings and be assisted by the President of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI):
- Takes note of the negotiations towards tariff modalities and actual negotiation of the schedules are quite complex. They considered that for most Intra-African trade to cover, there should be three agreements in place ECOWAS-EAC, ECOWAS-SACU and EAC-SACU, hence the need to focus on the three agreements rather than all permutations between the 55 African Countries :
- Proclaims that African Chamber Leaders should request African Governments to have Chamber representation on all National Investment Agencies: and,
- Be it further resolved, that African Chamber Leaders commit to facilitate increased participation of business persons with disclosure and ensure that their facilities are conducive for them.
The leaders of this Chambers are authorized to perform the acts to carry out this corporate resolution
Submitted to the World Chamber Federation by
Mr. Kiprono Kittony, National Chairman
Kenya National Chamber Of Commerce and Industry
October 24, 2018