East African entrepreneurs call for increased investments in power generation
Entrepreneurs from East Africa on Tuesday called for increased investments in the power generation so as to develop a strong value-added manufacturing base in the region.
Delegates participating in the second high-level East African Manufacturing Business Summit and Exhibition (EAMBS) held in Rwanda's capital city Kigali, said that heavy investments by both private and the public in the energy sector will enhance the production capacity of manufacturing industries in the region.
Rwanda hosts the forum from May 23 to 25 dubbed; "Harnessing the Manufacturing Potential for Sustainable Economic Growth". It has brought together top executives in the manufacturing and agri-business sectors, policy and decision makers, as well as key financial institutions from Africa and beyond to dialogue and explore opportunities for investment in manufacturing and agri-business in the EAC region.
More than 400 delegates are attending the event that is expected address existing gaps in policy and business environment by providing a platform for dialogue among manufacturers, suppliers, technology providers and policy makers.
"Increased power production and co-generation initiatives, will enable manufacturing industries in East Africa increase production. Today manufacturing sector in our region is limited by insufficient electricity generation," said Godfrey Simbeye, executive director of a Tanzanian private sector foundation.
Benjamin Gasamagera, Chairman of the Rwanda private sector federation said massive investments in power generation mean increased investments in manufacturing sector since increased power generation lowers the production costs of industries and factories.
"We are looking at engaging investors both foreign and local to put much emphasis on channeling their investments in energy sector to boost manufacturing of local industries in East African economies," he said.
He noted that East African economies are developing at fast rate which presses a huge demand to power generation against the available energy supply.
The meeting includes an exhibition where investors, enterprises, researchers and academia will collectively showcase new products and services as well as exhibit the latest advances in manufacturing technology and innovation, particularly those with relevance to SMEs.
It is expected to create greater awareness about the opportunities and challenges arising from the common market protocol for the regional manufacturing sector, according to organizers.
The manufacturing sector in East African community currently contributes just 10 percent to the bloc's GDP, according to the Executive Director of the East African Business Council (EABC) Lilian Awinja
"Strong partnership between private and the public sector is needed increase investments in off-grid and mini-grid solutions and close the region's energy deficit which presses a major challenge to manufacturing industries," she said.