East African business body launches recovery strategy amid COVID-19

By Li SiboUnreguser

DAR ES SALAAM, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- The East African regional business and private sector watchdog on Thursday launched a recovery strategy for East African Community (EAC) businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The East African Business Council (EABC) launched the program in collaboration with GIZ, the German development agency, after surveying how businesses in the region have been affected by the pandemic.

A statement issued by the EABC at its headquarters in Tanzania's safari capital Arusha said the strategy proposed key measures to mitigate the effect of the pandemic.

The recovery strategy for businesses in the EAC member states proposed various recovery measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the need for stimulus funds to help the most adversely affected sectors to recover steadily, said the statement.

According to the statement, another proposal was for the EAC member states to implement coordinated and synchronized fiscal and monetary measures to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 on the region's macroeconomic and financial stability.

The statement said the survey found that sectors such as tourism, logistics and retail have significantly experienced a higher percentage of cash flow reduction, which stood at 92 percent, 75 percent and 63 percent, respectively.

Drawing its findings from responses from over 100 EABC members and private businesses from different sectors in the EAC region, the survey revealed that businesses have also been left battling with a reduction in the export market and customer spending, said the statement.

Furthermore, the survey found that about 56 percent of businesses reported a decline in sales, 56 percent of businesses were also affected by the increased cross border restrictions, while challenges to source raw materials saw 44.1 percent of businesses grappling to stay afloat.

It added that state of unemployment in the region has also escalated with 36.4 percent of the respondents revealing that they have been forced to lay off their staff.

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