Kigali, 27 August 2013 (ECA) – Ambassadors and senior government officials representing Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda met with the Director and staff members of ECA, Kigali Office to discuss the groundings for the eighteenth Eastern African Session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts (ICE) to be held in Kinshasa, DRC in February 2014. The participants to the meeting held in Kigali on 27 August, resolved to deepen reflections on how to promote National Champions and the role of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in establishing local firms and fostering structural transformation agendas. 

These reflections and discussions will inform the theme of the ICE, which is “National Champions, FDI and Structural Transformation in Eastern Africa”. “In the emerging new economy, National champions have become strategic partners for better and inclusive transformation. Our countries have to position them to be major players for sustainable prosperity with the view to own our development process”, said Mr. Antonio Pedro, Director of ECA Sub-Regional office for Eastern Africa (SRO-EA).
Pedro highlighted that investments and resources spent on growing National Champions would pay off in long-term wealth accumulation and would promote infrastructure that enhances the quality of life and provide opportunities for diversification.
“Foreign Direct Investments can also boost national champions, if foreign companies were investing in human resource developmentwherebythe knowledge and technological skills aretransferred to local players”, Pedro added.
In the margins of Kinshasa ICE meeting, ECA will also organize three Ad-Hoc Experts Group Meeting on: ‘Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) and National Champions’, ‘Leveraging New Trading and Investment Partnerships for diversification in Eastern Africa: The Role of Emerging Markets’ and ‘Fostering Regional Integration for Improved Social Cohesion’
“Our countries are looking forward to discuss these significant topics and come up with clear policy recommendations that will boost our economies and advance our development” said Emmanuel Hategeka, the Permanent Secretary in Rwanda Ministry of Commerce and industry. “For Rwanda, the ICE theme is relevant and opportune given the government’s deliberate choice to boost national champions in many sectors of our development”, he added.
The ICE is the statutory organ of the ECA Office for Eastern Africa that meets annually to discuss key issues pertaining to the economic and social development of the sub-region with the view to making appropriate recommendations to address them.