NAIROBI, March 9 (Xinhua) — The East African business lobby on Wednesday called for export diversification in order to boost revenues.

John Bosco Kalisa, CEO at the EABC told a forum in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, that the region’s export product base remains narrow as it is concentrated on unprocessed agricultural, petroleum and mineral resources. “We need a paradigm shift to begin producing manufactured products for the international market where we have a comparative and competitive advantage,” Kalisa said during the regional private sector consultative meeting on the East African Community maximum common external tariff rate. The East African Business Council (EABC) is the regional apex body of the private sector in the EAC member states of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan.

Kalisa added that the region’s share of international trade remains low despite its enormous natural resource base. “We can enhance our exports through reducing trade related costs such as logistics which impede our products from competing favorably in the global markets,” he added. He noted that value addition to locally available raw materials will ensure goods exported are of high value and hence generate additional revenues.