Vimal Shah elected new chairman of the East African Business Council

During the 14th Annual General Meeting held at the East African Hotel in Arusha, Tanzania, on 31st May 2013, the East African Business Council elected its new Executive Committee for the period of 2013/2014 with Mr. Vimal Shah as the Chairman taking over from Hon. Gerald Ssendaula, who has served as Chairman since March 2012.

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Mr. Vimal Shah

Mr. Vimal Shah brings to EABC a wealth of experience from several years of national, regional and global Private Sector leadership and advocacy. He is the Chief Executive Officer of the BIDCO Group, a leading manufacturer, marketer and distributor of edible oils, fats and hygienic products. Born in Nyeri - Kenya 52 years ago, He holds a B.Sc degree in Business Administration and Finance from United States International University – Africa. He won the Prestigious East African Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2012 awarded by All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA) in partnership with CNBC Africa and Forbes Africa. In recognition of his exceptional effort and contribution to national development, Former Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki rewarded him with the ‘First Class - Chief of the Order of the Burning Spear (CBS) in 2010.

Mr. Vimal is the current chairman of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance and also sits on many Boards of Universities including:- the United States International University, Management University of Africa, and till recently on the Kenya Polytechnic University College (now termed Technical University of Kenya). He is also a board member of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (Nigeria) and also sits on the International Advisory Board of BOI Mauritius. He has served on the Presidential Investors Round Table – Uganda (PIRT – Chaired by the President of Uganda) and currently also sits on the National Economic & Social Council in Kenya which is chaired by the President of Kenya.

Other Members of the Executive Committee include:-

Hon. Gerald Ssendaula who now takes the position of Immediate past chairman and is the current Chairman of the Private Sector Foundation, Uganda(PSFU).

Burundi : Mr. Econie Nijimbere as Vice Chairperson, currently the Président, Association des Industrielles du Burundi (AIB). Other directors include :- Mr Canisius Ntahe, Advisor to the Managing Director, BRARUDI, Burundi, Mr. Mathieu Bizimana, President, Association of Freight Forwarders Burundi (ABADT) and Mr. Audace Ndayizeye, Chairperson, Sectoral Chamber for Hospitality and Tourism Burundi.

Uganda : Mrs. Olive Kigongo as Vice Chairperson, currently President of Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Mr. Jim Kabeho, Director, Madhvani Group of Companies; Mr. Ekomoloit Onapito, Corporate Affairs Director, Nile Breweries Limited and Mr. Kassim Omar, Chairman, Uganda Clearing Industry and Forwarding Association.

Rwanda: Ms. Alphonsine Niyigena as Vice Chairperson, currently the acting President, Private Sector Federation-Rwanda; Mr. John Bosco Rusagara, President, Rwanda Shippers Council, Dr. James Gatera, Managing Director, Bank of Kigali and Mr. Dennis Karera, Chairman Rwanda Hotels and Restaurants Association

United Republic of Tanzania: Mrs. Esther Mkwizu as Vice Chairperson, currently the Chairperson Tanzania Private Sector Foundation; Mr. Kake Dhariwal- Vice Chairman, British Business Group, Mr. Abdalla Omar, Board Member, Zanzibar National Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture and Mr. Pankaj Kumar from the Confederation of Tanzania Industries.

Kenya : Mr. Jaswinder Bedi, Director, Mabati Rolling Mills; Mr. Francis Munywoki, Director, Business Development and Innovation, The Standard Group; and Ms. Agatha Juma, Kenya Representative, East Africa Tourism Platform;

And from EABC Secretariat, Mr. Andrew Luzze, the Executive Director as the Secretary to the Board.

In his acceptance speech, The new Chairman, outlined key priorities that will be focused on during his tenure. These will include;

Enhancing the capacity of EABC as an institution, towards serving its members as well as building inclusivity through the creation of sectoral working committees,

Ensure that EAC becomes borderless by every stakeholder having a regional perspective against the nationalistic tendencies,

Enhancing the EAC intra-regional trade, competitiveness, employment and improved welfare of the people of East Africa by advocating for the elimination of NTBS, improved infrastructure, value addition especially EAC’s exports and efficiency of the ports.

He also emphasized the need for commitment at all EAC policy making levels towards the implementation of agreed upon positions in order to actualize the intended benefits of the EAC Integration process.