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EAC boss roots for a 24-hour economy

26 August 2014, 23:01 Joseph Njung’eh

Nairobi - The East Africa Community, Secretary General, Dr. Richard Sezibera has advised regional private and public sector players to consider embracing the ideals of a 24hour economy to accelerate economic growth.

The East Africa Community boss noted that the region’s reliance on an 8-12hour economic production cycle is slowing down regional growth.

Sezibera spoke at the launch of regional retailer, Nakumatt Holdings, 50th branch opening in Arusha, Tanzania, according Nakumatt press.

The branch which represents a US$ 2Million (KES.176 M) investment by Nakumatt is also a major milestone for the retailer, as it had earlier set a corporate target to open its 50th branch by February 2015 under its Nakumatt 2.0 Corporate Development Strategy.

Sezibera noted that, in the face of globalization, East Africa’s economy, cannot afford to remain shut overnight as other competing economies in the world operate round the clock.

“At the East Africa Community, we are working hard to support economic development by clearing Non-Tariff barriers and on the same vein, we are actively working to encourage both the private and public sector to adopt a 24 hour approach to business and service delivery,” Sezibera confirmed.

“Companies such as Nakumatt have played a key part in fostering innovative practices such as their round the clock operations which can be easily emulated by other private and public sector players,” he added.

He further commended homegrown business organisations including Nakumatt for playing a key role in driving regional integration.

During the function, Nakumatt Holdings, Managing Director Atul Shah, described the opening of Nakumatt Arusha as a golden jubilee milestone as it now ranks as the 50th branch in East Africa.

He reiterated Nakumatt’s commitment to support the growth of formal retail in East Africa by playing a mentorship role.

“My dream is to ensure that we double the formal retail penetration in East Africa from the current less than 14 percent to at least 30 percent in the next ten years,” Shah said.

“Such growth for formal retail sector will require concerted efforts amongst all stakeholders and will in turn inspire regional growth. My dream is to see thousands of farmers and other cottage industries accessing formal retail markets such as Nakumatt,” he added.

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