At the 17th Ministerial Roundtable of the Horn of Africa Initiative (HoAI), which took place during the 2023 Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank in Sharm-el-Sheikh on 24 May 2023, HoAI Finance Ministers emphasized the critical need to boost private sector investment in their respective economies. They aimed to tap into the knowledge and practical insights held by private stakeholders on regional economic development matters. The primary objective was to gain deeper insights into creating a more favorable environment for regional investment and trade.
Subsequently, the Ministers assigned the HoAI Secretariat and Development Partners the task of collaborating with the private sector to craft a roadmap. This roadmap would identify opportunities for expanding investments within the region while proposing coordinated policy measures to accelerate these efforts. After a series of consultations at the national level in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and South Sudan, representatives from private sector organizations in these countries convened in Addis Ababa on 19 September to discuss policy recommendations for inclusion in the roadmap.
The resulting approach is scheduled to be presented on 3 October 2023 at the upcoming Ministerial Meeting for validation. Following validation, a joint implementation plan will be developed by stakeholders from the Horn of Africa countries, in collaboration with the Development Partners supporting the HoAI. Resources will also be mobilized to cover the requisite financial, technical, and capacity-building needs.
The workshop saw the participation of various key stakeholders, including the Head of the Horn of Africa Secretariat, as well as representatives from organizations such as the Ethiopian Freight Forwarders and Shipping Agents Association, the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KNCCI), the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KePSA), Kenya’s Youth and Women in Trade and Business, the Chamber of Commerce of South Sudan, the South Sudan Women Entrepreneurs Association, the Somali Chamber of Commerce, the Somali Industry Association, the Somali Women in Business, the Chamber of Commerce of Djibouti, the Djibouti Importers and Exporters Syndicate, the Djibouti Freight Forwarders Association of Djibouti, and the Association of Women in Trade of Djibouti.
Additionally, representatives from the Ministries of Trade of Djibouti and Somalia actively participated in the discussions, while Development Partners from the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and the European Union joined online, along with other private sector stakeholders from Horn of Africa countries.