Recently the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and the Industry hosted the African Chamber leaders, Pan African Chambers of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) together with the President of the World Chamber Federation, Peter Mihok in the Kenya capital, Nairobi with Liberia’s Chamber of Commerce through its President, J. Wendell Addy forming part of this unique gathering.
The objective of this forum was to discuss the progress of African Continental Free Trade Area, and the role of the MSME in the Economic Development of the Continent which constitute the bulk of the chambers of commerce membership base.
This is in line with the Memorandum of Understanding which the African Chambers, through PACCI, signed with the Department of Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, in November, 2013.
The uniqueness of the Nairobi meeting was that African Chambers delegates were also able to participate and listen on the deliberations of the KNCCI’s National Government Council meeting which had been called to adopt the amendment of some clauses in the Memorandum and Articles of Association which govern the Kenya chamber.
At the end of the two-day deliberation, eighteen key resolutions including commitment to fighting corruption as a means to provide a conducive environment for business sustainability among others were adopted by the African Chambers leaders’ forum.
Others highlighted include a call for African Chambers to actively participate in the ongoing negotiation on trade agreements and policies and lobby with their respective governments to ratify the AfCFTA, African countries were also called upon to embrace the practice of commercial Arbitration combined with Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR for the purpose of resolving dispute and de’cloging the Court.
Before the conference, the chambers leaders met with the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at the State House, and at the close of conference, the delegation also met with the Vice President, William Ruto at his residence. Both expressed support of the key partnership role that the business communities placed in the national agenda of any country.
Also during the deliberation, the African Chamber leaders proposed and adopted that the Kenyan Chamber Patron, President Uhuru Kenyatta to become a Goodwill Ambassador of African Chambers of Commerce to spearhead the agenda of the Chambers being the voice of the private sector in Africa; to achieve an observer status at the African Union, and convene heads of Chamber meetings alongside AU meetings, and that the SME growth be the key for economic development and the creation of jobs; the need for Chambers to lobby for formalization of the SME Sector and, in addition, Governments must set aside annual budgetary allocation to support SMEs.
Noting further, the forum in its deliberation, called for the chambers to establish or take control of weigh stations and host Government functionaries at border points and corridors to minimize transit barriers, and also be involved in the development of the TVET Curriculum as a way to improve skilled manpower for enterprise growth.
Another important issue that was placed amongst others was that African Chamber leaders should request representative on all national Investment Agencies, and further urged African Chamber leaders to commit to facilitate increased participation of business persons with disclosure and ensure that their facilities are conducive for them.
At this forum seventeen Chamber’s leadership from seventeen countries including Liberia affirmed the African Chamber leaders’ resolution.