john small

John Small – CEO of the Eastern Africa Association

We are pleased and honored to welcome Mr John Small as a guest speaker/panelist at the 5th Africa Business Forum in Addis Ababa on 1st Mar 2017.

“I was born in Kenya and lived the first 12 years of my life there before coming to the UK to complete my secondary and University education. I studied Economics at Cambridge University, specialising in economic development.

During my early career I worked for the Commonwealth Development Corporation on an oil palm project in Papua New Guinea and I have held various other positions with commercial organisations, including Ford Motor Co., GD Searle Pharmaceuticals and Pitney Bowes, all on the accountancy side of the business. In 1982 I went to work in Kenya for Booker Tate and then in 1984 I took up a position with East African Packaging Industries, in Nairobi, where I worked for 15 years until 1999, the last seven of which were as the Managing Director of the company. During that time I travelled extensively in the region on export business, including several visits to Tanzania, and setting up a new company in Uganda. I was a member of the local management boards of the Federation of Kenya Employers, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, the Eastern Africa Association and the British Businessman’s Association.

In September 1999 I took up a new position as the Chief Executive of the Eastern Africa Association in London, where I am currently still working. This is an organisation which seeks to facilitate trade and investment in the region and has member companies from 25 different countries. I write regular newsletters which cover the political and economic situations in the ten countries covered, and I also frequently travel to East Africa, in particular to the five main countries, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia. I speak reasonably fluent Swahili and am well-versed in the ways of doing business in the region, from an international company perspective.”


The Association exists as an independant, non-political body financed primarily from the subscriptions paid by its Members.

It is administered by a UK based Chief Executive and Secretary, appointed by an Executive Committee. The Chief Executive makes periodoc visitis to East African countries to maintain contact with members and the respective national governments. He is also in touch with various UK/European government departments, the diplomatic community based in London and various chambers of commerce and other bodies concerned with trade and investment in Africa.

Eastern Africa activities are managed by the regional representative based in Nairobi, supported by resident representatives in Kampala, Kigali, Dar-es-Salaam and Addis Ababa who keep the Association abreast of local developments and who maintain constant liaison between their members and the governments concerned.

Activites across East Africa are supported by our Local Advisory Committees, which represent key sector interests and comprise senior business figures drawn from the membership.

The EAA plays a complementary role to other local business organisations with whom we co-operate in many areas.

“The private sector is the key to sustainable economic development and the EAA plays a vital role representing the interests of foreign investors.”