Making Investments Work for the People

EACSOF and SEATINI raised awareness on the state of play of the investment policies and practices at EAC level

Introduction

SEATINI Uganda held a regional meeting on the 18th to 19th May in Uganda, to discuss about foreign investments in East Africa and their implications to the local society. This meeting aimed at analyzing the level of foreign investment in each East African state. Hence a comparison of the level of foreign investment to the development of the local society that is to what extent does an individual citizen benefit from the foreign investments established in their country.

The arising issues include: EAC Countries presented investment opportunities in sectors such as infrastructure, manufacturing, energy, minerals and extractives, agriculture, water and forest resources. However, whereas the sectors have made high profits for investors, there has been minimal transformation of people’s livelihoods due to the kind of policy framework the region is pursuing. This framework includes inter alia liberal macroeconomic policy stance; fiscal and non-fiscal policy reforms such as granting tax incentives and land concessions to foreign investors; and negotiation and signing of bilateral investment Treaties (BITs) in a bid to enhance the region’s investment attractiveness.

The proposed solutions include: Need to Encourage Joint Venture Investment Code that is a provision specifying that every foreign investment should be required to partner with a local in order to invest in a country. Encourage investments that have direct development or improvement to the local society, for example; Building of infrastructure, create employment. Countries should work at improving the Land governance Policies. The civil societies need to introduce an aggressive sensitization of the people’s mind set, kin changing the notion that “we are poor and incapable” and hence encourage domestic investments. Strengthening of institutions with the power to make decisions when getting into investment agreements. Prioritize and encourage investment debates and engagements. Advocate for the passing of the Joint Venture idea, to be passed at both national and regional level.

Way Forward:

EACSOF will continue to collaborate with SEATINI to encourage a model investment law at EAC level and advocate for Joint Venture investment between locals and foreigners.

EACSOF will promote Investment policies and Agreements that support sustainable development and improved livelihoods within the region.

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