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E.A Considers Big Car Brand Plant, Burundian Picked SG

By Muriisa Robert On:3 March 2016

Arusha, Foreign-manufactured motor vehicles, mostly used in Tanzania and East Africa, may be compelled to set up assembling plants in the region as leaders mull reducing importation of cars from overseas.

document 3689 The new strategy mulled by the EAC Heads of State might lead to automobile manufacturers specialising in such popular and fast selling brands as Toyota, Nissan, Volkswagen and Yutong in Japan, China, and Europe to starting to make plans to build assembling plants in East Africa. This was among the agenda at the Arusha-held East African Community's Heads of State Summit chaired by President John Magufuli as the host; and attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Burundi Second Vice-President, Mr Joseph Butore, who represented President Pierre Nkurunziza. Also present was Zanzibar President Ali Mohammed Shein. Under the EAC industrialisation strategy, the heads of state considered the EAC Ministerial Council Report on modalities for Promotion of Motor Vehicle Assembling plants in the region and cutting down, if not eliminating the importation of cars. In line with that, the heads of state addressed the proposal regarding the 'Reduction of the Importation of Used Motor Vehicles from Outside the Community,' voting for local assembly plants to create jobs and assure that cars were made with local specifications in mind as well as cutting down on the costs of importing cars. The East African leaders figured that with a combined regional population of 150 million residents and counting, the region has enough credibility as potential car market, not to mention its central position to supply other countries with locally assembled vehicles as well. Already, Kenya was ahead of other East African countries in attracting foreign car makers to invest in the country and already Nissan and Isuzu (Japan), Foton (China) and CMC (Ford and Landrover) have established plants in the Nairobi Industrial Area. The summit also discussed the 'Promotion of the Textile and Leather Industries' in the region, and stopping importation of 'Used Clothes, Shoes and Other Leather Products' from outside the region. Tanzania, for instance, is third after Ethiopia and Sudan in having the largest number of livestock, especially cattle, which means the region, was self-sufficient as far as production of leather and its products are concerned. The EAC Summit meeting, held at Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge in Meru District, also considered council reports on: the Model, Structure and Action Plan of the EAC Political Federation; and Implementation of the Framework for Harmonised EAC Roaming Charges, which is expected to cut down further roaming charges in the region. Despite the absence of President Nkurunziza, the heads of state have endorsed a Burundian national to become the new Secretary General of the EAC. Mr Liberat Mfumukeko, a Senior Advisor to the President of Burundi, was sworn in as the new EAC Secretary General during the just ended 17th Summit of EAC Heads of State, which was held at the Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge in Meru District, Arusha region on Wednesday. The former General Manager of the Burundi Investment Agency (API), Mr Mfumukeko, whose term in office starts on April 26, 2016, takes over from the outgoing Secretary General, Dr Richard Sezibera from Rwanda, who bid the summit farewell this week, citing a number of milestone achievements during his fiveyear tenure at the Arusha-based Secretariat. {{By Robert Muriisa.}}

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