The East African Community is set to attract Chinese investors into bringing manufacturing companies to the region.
According to resolutions made at the end of the two-day 1st Manufacturing Business Summit in Kampala, participants noted that the labour costs in China were increasing and that the EAC could serve as an alternative destination for the investors who want to reduce costs of production.
‘The EAC should formulate a regional strategy for engagement with China in a view to leveraging and attracting Chinese investors, and re-location of manufacturing into the region taking advantage of the rising labour costs in China’ an EAC release states in part.
Previously, the costs of production labour in China have been low, prompting several US companies to ‘relocate’ their manufacturing components to the Far East country.
But speaking at the EABMS, participants noted that manufacturing undertakings need efficient and affordable power and they resolved that the EAC partner states take measures to reform the energy sector with a view of increasing supply and reducing costs of electricity.
‘Energy (power) is a vital input into manufacturing constituting between 20-50 percent of the cost of production. The East Africa Partner States are called upon to take measures to reduce the cost of power to through: reforms in the energy/power sector to reduce power lose, permitting industries to generate their own power and supply excess to the national greed, and introducing energy efficiency and conservation measures in industries,’ the release add.
Participants also implored the EAC and the East Africa Business Council (EABC) to organise a regional conference on ‘Competitive Energy Supply for sustainable Growth of Manufacturing in East Africa’.
The delegates also called for the procurement of ‘locally’ manufactured products from the partner states under a scheme dubbed the ‘Buy East Africa Build East Africa’, BEABEA.
The two-day Summit was opened by Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda and attended by among others the EAC Secretary General Amb Dr Richard Sezibera, Uganda trade minister Amelia Kyambadde, EABC boss Dennis Karera, UNCTAD Secretary General Dr Mukhisa Kituyi and the Chairman of the Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) Amos Nzeyi.