Stanbic Bank held the inaugural East Africa Business Summit at the Muthaiga Golf Club in Nairobi, Kenya. Under the theme “The Case for Economic Optimism for East Africa,” the event brought together business leaders, and industry experts from across East Africa.
The Summit provided a platform for business leaders to review the region’s socio-economic landscape and deliberate on regional integration, and cross-border infrastructure development, enabling the Diaspora to invest at home, facilitating the growth of small and medium enterprises, and empowering marginalized groups, particularly women and agriculture. This comes on the back of an African Development Bank’s East Africa Economic Outlook Report, 2023 that shows that the East Africa region will register the highest economic performance on the continent in 2023 and 2024 of 5.1% and 5.8% respectively.
Patrick Mweheire, Regional Chief Executive of Standard Bank Group, said: “The East Africa Business Summit is a celebration of our region’s potential and resilience. It underscores our unwavering commitment to fostering collaboration between the public and private sectors, harnessing the strength of partnerships to drive economic growth.”
He added: “We are eternally optimistic about the potential of this region because we achieve more when we are optimistic. The Private and Public sectors need to collaborate more. It’s important for the countries in East Africa to significantly drive trade with each other so that we can transform the economic growth in the region.”
Joshua Oigara, Chief Executive of Stanbic Bank Kenya and South Sudan noted with optimism the key to unlocking growth: “We cannot grow the economy if we do not invest significantly in Agriculture. We have so much potential we can unlock in this sector for East Africa.”
He added: “We are excited about this Summit, which gave us a platform to come together, share insights, and collectively discuss how we can shape the economic destiny of our region.”
On his part, Jackson Rwegasira Manzi, Chief Executive of Stanbic Bank Tanzania, said: “We need to integrate mineral extraction with manufacturing in our region to allow us to connect with the global value chains. To bring future Giga factories to East Africa like Tesla, will take smart collaboration between the private sector and governments to work on a long-term plan to build local expertise and an attractive business environment.”
Other highlights of the Summit include:
- Diverse Attendees: The Summit attracted a diverse list of attendees, including senior leaders, policymakers, and thought leaders from various sectors, including energy, logistics, ICT, education, manufacturing, agribusiness, mining, and hospitality.
- Optimism Panel: The Summit featured an “Optimism Panel” chaired by D. Bikhado Ofungi, a member of the International Chamber of Commerce, where industry leaders engaged in discussions on the case for optimism in East Africa and strategies for sustainable growth.
- Regional Integration: Participants delved into the potential of full regional integration and its role in positioning East Africa as a vibrant economic powerhouse.
- Financial Inclusion: The Summit considered the development of FinTech in East Africa and how they are contributing to the enhancement of financial inclusion among hitherto excluded groups.
Stanbic Bank’s commitment to advancing East Africa’s economic prospects is underscored by its role as a catalyst for growth and development in the region. The Bank leverages its financial expertise, global networks, and local insights to empower businesses and governments in navigating complex challenges and capitalizing on emerging opportunities.