SEATINI Uganda Participates in Online workshop on EU-East African Community Relations
On 26th January 2022, SEATINI Uganda participated in an online workshop on trade and investment relations between the European Union and the African continent. The workshop was organized by Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung together with Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Helmut Scholz, Rapporteur for a report by the Committee on International Trade (INTA) on the trade and investment relations between the EU and Africa.
SEATINI Uganda Executive Director, Jane Nalunga joined the Secretary General of the EAC Peter Mutuku Mathuki among other distinguished speakers to reflect and discuss the EU‘s region-based Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) approach and how it relates to the African approach of a Continental Free Trade Area, and what needs to be changed to make trade relations between both continents serve the common priority of achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Jane Nalunga started her presentation by appreciating EU’s listening mode and being open to non-state actors. He later emphasized the need to review and re-assess the trade and investment relationship between EU and Africa given that a key trading partner. However, she cautioned African countries not to destroy their own regional integration.
While making a presentation on trade and investment relations between EU and EAC, Hon. (Dr) Peter Mutuku Mathuki, Secretary General noted that the European Union (EU) is a strategic partner for the East African Community (EAC).
Mathuki urged the EU to consider addressing the financial needs of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and developing countries, whose policy space has narrowed due to rising public debt, loss of fiscal revenue and increased inflation due to the impact of COVID-19. He later proposed that the EU can facilitate the EAC implement the AfCFTA by supporting;
• Capacity building and nurturing for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
• Strengthening regional trade facilitation infrastructure
• Infrastructure development.
Dr. Isaac Shinyekwa, Economic Policy Research Center, Makerere University noted that while developing trade policies, its important to take into consideration issues of climate change, environment and also make them part of trade policies so that the economics does not sacrifice the environment.
He reiterated that EAC countries have remained perpetual suppliers of primary commodity suppliers. He further noted that over liberalization is not going to help EAC countries.