East Africa business body urges fast-tracking liberalization of airspace

DAR ES SALAAM – The East African Business Council (EABC) on Saturday called on partner states of the East African Community (EAC) to fast track the process of airspace liberalization in a bid to reduce the cost of doing business in the region.

Jim Kabeho, the EABC acting chairman, further urged Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi to finalize EAC air transport regulations for the benefit of the trading bloc.

“It is important for the EAC partner states to expedite air space liberalization in view of reducing the cost of doing business,” Kabeho told a news conference in Tanzania’s northern tourist city of Arusha.

He said since the cost of air transport in the EAC region was high, the region should expeditiously finalize the development of the EAC liberalization of air services and the adoption of new regulations by all the partner states.

A study commissioned by the EABC and released in May said air transport liberalization within the EAC could earn the region 202 million U.S. dollars annually.

The study, Costs and Benefits of Open Skies in the East African Community, said the airspace liberalization among Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi could also result in an additional 46,320 jobs.

Kabeho also called on the EAC to focus on the path to industrialization and support measures which can create of wealth and jobs in the region.

He named sectors that needed attention as iron and steel, agriculture and motor vehicle industry, saying the region needed to focus on areas which supported the industrial sector like transport and logistics, energy, and tax policy.

He stressed the need for the EAC region to develop a regional policy to allow for local sourcing of goods and services, and create demand for locally produced goods in order to spur growth in the priority sectors identified under the EAC industrialization strategy.

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