Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Every journey begins with a first step - and every journey comes ends with a last stride! Twelve years ago, I joined COMESA with an ambitious agenda - to build the CBC as private sector institution that will be the voice of business across the 19 countries (now 21) that make up this Regional Economic Community.
It has been an incredible, fulfilling journey leading the CBC, loaded with exciting adventures - from building new teams, developing leadership and governance structures, driving strategic plans, serving industries across 34 business sectors, establishing a regional and global footprint and of course - having a lot of fun along the way!
I now step down in my capacity as CEO of this respected regional institution with a lot of pride. Allow me to commend the CBC President and Board of Directors for successfully steering and being committed to the institution through the years. A special thanks goes to the “CBC Dream Team” that has worked tirelessly through COVID-19 pandemic and over the years, to maintain a consistent, relevant and forefront position for the organization and its members. We have influenced limitations and written many success stories together. I congratulate you for the amazing work you have all done to make CBC what it is today. I would also like to recognize the noble COMESA leadership for their continuous support towards private sector development- and through which, the mandate of the CBC as a policy organ institution has ensured that the private sector seats at the table of policy formulation with all levels of decision making in the region.
The CBC Community showcases the most inspiring, adaptive and innovative member associations, corporate companies and SMEs in the region. Under my leadership, CBC has established innovative products and services that are tailor-made to the needs of its members and stakeholders. By maintaining good standing relationships with public and private leaderships and partners across Africa and internationally, we have facilitated sustainable business linkages, influenced policy at the highest levels, and have steered noteworthy initiatives that continue to bring about real change at grassroot levels. With this, CBC has grown to become one of the leading Business Member Organizations on the continent, gaining an international footprint.
We celebrate the works accomplished by way of CBC being part of a strong consortia in the championing of private sector interests through the Tripartite Private Sector Platform, and at the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) negotiations, through the now formally established African Business Council, where CBC seats as Board Vice President.
Indeed COVID-19 has afforded CBC profound learnings, with which the team has made great strides in equipping businesses with the resources necessary for rebuilding towards better comebacks. There are many more successes to look forward to in this regard, along with key advocacy and technical capacity-led programs in strengthening digital and financial inclusion, trade development and improving market access requirements at a regional and international level. The agility with
which industry continues to adopt to the changing business environment is a true testament to the dynamism and resilience of the private sector a driver of regional economic development.
I would like to thank our industry led stakeholders for the long-standing partnerships with us, namely - the Corporate Council on Africa; the US Chamber of Commerce; the International Chamber of Commerce; The Commonwealth; the International Trade Centre; and the Confederation of Indian Industries. I would also like to express our heartfelt appreciation to our development partners from North America; Switzerland; the European Union; China; and Africa, for the continuous support to the private sector through the CBC, and look forward continued strong working relationships with the institution.
I would also like to recognize and appreciate CBC’s strong relationships built with the leaderships of my fellow COMESA Institutions - the Trade and Development Bank (TDB); the COMESA Re-Insurance Bank, PTA- Reinsurance Company-(ZEP-RE); the COMESA Clearing House (CCH); the COMESA Monetary Institute(CMI); and the Africa Trade Insurance Agency(ATI).
The next five years for the CBC are very exciting, as the institution moves towards driving the interests of Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) through Digital Financial Inclusion; championing Manufacturers’ voices in productive capacity; strengthening distribution channels and supply chains; promoting Origin Africa Products; and raising the flag of the Agroindustry sector to secure investments and partnerships that will make Africa the next food basket of the world. CBC’s focus will also address trade facilitation matters with a vision of strengthening the flow of goods and services across our markets.
Here is to an exciting future for the COMESA Business Council (CBC) as an agent of change in that equation - Building Regional, Going Global- Driving Impact.
My Warmest Regards,
Ms. Sandra Uwera