The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry in partnership with the East Africa Chamber of Commerce & Industry earlier this week hosted 14 ambassadors in Nairobi ahead of the Great Lakes Investment and Trade Conference (GLITC) set for March 2020. During the Kenya national partnership building event, the envoys were taken through investment opportunities available in the 12 countries that form the Great Lakes region and how the private sector can tap from them.

The envoys were also informed of the various challenges hampering the promotion of cross border investment and trade including the institutional and legal frameworks across the region to open dialogue and increase the participation of development partners.

Speaking during the event Chamber President and Chair of the Great Lakes Region Private Sector Forum (Glr-Psf) Richard Ngatia called for a conducive business operating environment with attractive legislation incentives by governments to facilitate more investment from private sectors. He highlighted key development investments that the private sector can take advantage of including agriculture, manufacturing, construction, hospitality and horticulture.

“The region has not benefited from our inter-regional opportunities, therefore, resources remain under-utilized for sustainable economic development in the region. Practical experience in many African countries has also proven that an open business operating environment with attractive legislation incentives offered by the government can also facilitate more investment from private sectors for economic development,” Mr. Ngatia lamented.

He emphasized that the conference set for Kigali will help identify bottlenecks that constraints the development of private sector investment and trade within the Great Lakes Region and discuss how joint efforts and enhanced political goodwill could help to overcome them. Further, he added that the forum will avail cross border projects that are bankable and ready for business.

“Large, diverse countries need large, clever instruments in infrastructure and logistics services to connect people, communities and industries. Building and maintaining transport and communications infrastructure in such a region like this is expensive. So we need cost-effective, innovative infrastructure solutions which make the most of what the private sector can offer, and which meet local communities’ needs and priorities,” he added.

Among the countries that participated in the event included: Ethiopia, Korea, Serbia, DRC Congo, Oman, Jordan, Belgium, Angola, Russia, Slovak, Tunisia, India, Iran, Rwanda.

GLITC is jointly organized by the Office of the UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and the Government of the Republic of Rwanda.