A meeting of the East African Community’s (EAC) Leather Forum has taken place in Arusha, Tanzania, during which there were calls for the bloc to create a more easily accessible market for leather products.

The forum was convened by the East African Business Council (EABC). It brought together leather industry figures from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

Among the recommendations to come out of this meeting were the creation of a regional market for leather products and a more conducive business environment to promote local value addition in the leather sector. Those present also called for the implementation of a regional leather strategy to be fast-tracked.

The EAC Secretariat is in the process of developing a regional leather and leather products strategy, which would cover the period from 2019-2029.

Among the speakers at the forum was Beatrice Mwasi, secretary general of the Kenya Leather Apex Society, a new umbrella body launched in November. She urged the EAC leather industry to be more innovative and to improve branding. She also called for EAC partner states to offer incentives for value addition in the leather sector.

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