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TradeMark Africa Receives $63 Million from Netherlands to Advance Sustainable Trade and Economic Inclusivity

Nairobi, 8 February: The Government of the Netherlands, through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a significant boost to global trade development, has announced a $63 million funding to TradeMark Africa, a leading aid-for-trade organisation. This strategic investment will fuel TradeMark Africa's Strategy 3, covering the period till 2030, aimed at driving green, sustainable economic growth, fostering innovative trade practices, and promoting inclusive trade across Africa. This move underscores the Netherlands' commitment to enhancing economic opportunities, job creation and facilitating sustainable trade throughout the continent. Marchel Gerrmann, Ambassador for Business and Development Cooperation at Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said: “TradeMark Africa will significantly contribute to a more inclusive and prosperous trade landscape for the African continent, benefitting both African and Dutch businesses." The Netherlands’ contribution will be invested in strengthening trade systems so that they benefit local exporters, foster economic growth, and create sustainable livelihoods across diverse sectors. This investment will be instrumental in improving market access for local products at the global level, in addition to bolstering initiatives that drive innovation, research, and development within the African market, enhancing competitiveness and green trading practices. As part of its Africa Strategy, the Netherlands contributes towards the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The AfCFTA is expected to boost intra-African trade over 30% by 2045 and is projected to provide an average extra 2.7% GDP boost across the continent. The AfCFTA could lift 30 million Africans out of poverty by 2035, offering market opportunities to both African...

Combating COVID-19 and Supporting Recovery

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the globe and disrupted the lives of billions of people in every corner of the world. Eastern Africa has not been left unscathed. The pandemic has affected trade and economic activity in a fundamental way. Whereas many have weighed the impact of COVID-19 on health terms, we in trade facilitation have seen firsthand how debilitating its impact has been to global trade, disrupting supply chains across the globe. This knowledge informed our quick adaptation, and helped to offset major trade disruptions experienced in the Eastern, Southern and Horn of Africa Region. The impact of COVID-19 hit TMA closer home. Cuts to donor funding caused by COVID-19 inflicted economic recession in donor countries necessitated a human resource restructuring process, and scaling down of programming. Nevertheless, TMA was resilient and delivered strong impact. I am honoured to mention a few of the interventions and associated impacts achieved in the last year, as I welcome you to read about many more in this annual report. SAFE TRADE Amongst the quick counter and cushioning measures we implemented were the Safe Trade Emergency Facility Programme (Safe Trade), a multi-donor funded and multi- stakeholder programme that enabled governments and communities to adopt short- to medium-term measures for safe continuity of trade. The innovation driving Safe Trade won an award during the Paris Peace Forum due to its focus on the immediate threat posed by the pandemic, and post- COVID-19 recovery that empowered communities to bounce back better. Recovery efforts have also...

Time To Focus Beyond COVID-19

The better part of the last two financial years have been marked by unprecedented global focus on COVID-19, the global pandemic that took the World by surprise. The numerous natural, economic, and intellectual resources that have been spent to contain the spread of the rapidly-mutating enigmatic disease, and to eradicate it, have been worthwhile. In the Eastern Africa region for instance, conditions for external trade and investment have tremendously improved due to enhanced focus on trade as a key ingredient for economic resilience. This, I dare state, is a direct result of joint efforts by TradeMark Africa (TMA), the region’s Governments, donors and other partners, to accelerate innovative approaches to trade in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. By the start of the 2020/2021 financial year, exports of most East African Community Partner States had surpassed their 2019 levels, whilst imports recovered to pre-pandemic levels, testimony of increased regional resilience. At TMA, we strove to maintain progress and associated developmental gains generated over the years, that could have been easily reversed by the effects of the pandemic. In our commitment to make meaningful and resolute impact through inclusive and sustainable trade in the region, TMA intensified focus on innovation and digital transition, simultaneously with its expansion plan. Innovation and digital transition enabled markets and borders to safely remain open for continued trade, thus speeding up recovery and promoting traders’ resilience. This contrasts with other parts of the Continent whose trade continues to be affected by the pandemic. The Safe Trade...

Global Pandemic Reaffirms TMEA’s Relevance & Impact

2021 marked an important watershed moment for global trade, as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic started to subside, and countries began to post stronger economic growth. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), global trade touched a high of $28 trillion, 11% growth from pre-pandemic levels. Trade in services is however yet to fully recover. Furthermore, while the global trade growth remained uneven across countries and sectors, it was broader towards the end of the year. Its therefore still early to celebrate yet, even though the future might be promising. The global picture bears similarities with activities in TradeMark East Africa, which has continued to post impressive results in addition to expanding our geographical footprint across Africa, whilst battling COVID-19 induced disruptions. It is for instance gratifying to see many women traders from vulnerable backgrounds being able to maintain their livelihoods due to medically COVID- 19 compliant markets that were constructed during the year to safeguard them and their clients. Similarly, seeing many regional micro, small and medium enterprises reap the benefits of reducing costs of trade due to various interventions such as growing digitisation of trade services by regional Governments, and improved evacuation of cargo along key trade corridors, are heart-warming. Amidst this, TMEA’s approach to trade facilitation continued to be relevant, in high demand, and impactful. Development of physical and digital trade corridors, promotion of inclusive trade, supporting standards harmonisation, and increasing the private sector’s voice in reforming trade policies have enabled many...