Africa has traditionally been an economically fragmented region and cross-border payments in Africa, including in the East African Community (EAC) region remain difficult and expensive. Cross-border payments in Africa are more costly than in any other region worldwide. As per the World Bank’s Remittance Price Worldwide 2020, the average cost of sending USD 200 globally is 6.5% while in Sub-Saharan Africa it amounts to approximately 8.19%.
In this context, International Economics Consulting Ltd. (IEC), with funding from the European Commission, provided technical assistance to support private sector engagement within the (EAC). Following discussions with the EAC Secretariat and the East African Business Council, three topics were selected for round table discussions namely trade finance and the challenges and opportunities for the private sector; the harmonization of payment systems in the EAC; and the facilitation of cross-border investments in the EAC.