Country: EAC

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...

The East African Community Non-Tariff Barriers Factbook and Toolkit

Understanding non-tariff barriers in the East African Community Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) play a significant role in increasing the cost and time of trade or doing business or simply impede trade between or amongst partner states. The East African Community (EAC) Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers Act 2017 refers to NTBs as laws, regulations, administrative and technical requirements other than tariffs imposed by a Partner State, whose effect is to impede trade. Many of the regulations and technical requirements that affect trade – rising from Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs) – serve legitimate policy objectives to safeguard public health or the environment.  The EAC Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers Regulations, 2017 highlights that one aspect of what makes an NTM an NTB is whether a “measure is discriminatory and restricts trade directly or indirectly. This factbook and toolkit provides an overview of the various categories of NTBs, why NTBs are harmful and how to identify, report and monitoring the resolution of NTBs in EAC context.

The European Union (EU) Keen to Deepen Trade Ties with Kenya

Members of European Parliament’s International Trade Committee, on November 3, 2022, held talks with teams from TradeMark East Africa, Kenya’s Ministry of Trade and regional private sector representatives on investment opportunities, trade relations and barriers. Led by committee chair, Bernd Lange, the team sought to understand key concerns around the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Kenya and the EU and how trading between the two partners can be more mutually beneficial. Mr. Lange also highlighted the need to reflect on a regional perspective in the negotiations with Kenya, which is no longer categorised as a least developed country (LDC) as its East African Community (EAC) counterparts. While the country’s exports still benefit from preferential treatment, Kenyan exporters face stringent requirements on labelling, rules of origin and phytosanitary standards, according to the State Department of Trade. In the last half a decade, Kenya has been a net buyer of commodities from the EU, with imports hitting US$1.9 billion in 2019, less than half of the US$916 million Kenya exported to the EU, according to the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). Kenya exports mostly horticultural products. With favourable trade conditions and increased efficiencies in the production and supply chains, Kenya can significantly scale up its share of exports of cut flowers, vegetables, macadamia, avocados, sweet potatoes, pineapples, coffee, and apparel, in response to burgeoning demand in the EU. The delegation also heard of how Kenya and East Africa are positioned to tap into the immense potential of the African Continental Free Trade...

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...

Finland Committed to Doubling Trade with Africa Over Next Decade

Finland Ambassador to Kenya, H.E. Pirkka Tapiola says his country is committed to doubling trade with Africa over the next decade. The ambassador spoke while touring the Port of Mombasa on Friday. The envoy commended the Government of Kenya and Development Partners for supporting Port Reforms and Modernisation Programme over the last decade that has dramatically improved evacuation of cargo at the facility. It for instance used to take 11 days to process imports through Mombasa in 2010, the time had fallen to only 5.5 days by 2017. The time to transport a container from Mombasa to Bujumbura also fell by 16.5% over the period. The Government of Finland, through TradeMark Africa has over the last decade invested more than US$13.1 million to support various projects in and around the Port of Mombasa. Finland also contributed US$445,000 to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) through the Safe Trade Emergency facility by TradeMark Africa, a project that sought to keep ports, borders, and critical supply chains in the region safe for trade at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ambassador was received by General Manager Human Resources and Administration Mr. Daniel Ogutu and TradeMark Africa Deputy CEO, Allen Asiimwe.  The KPA General Manager noted that the support provided at the outset of COVID-19 was critical in keeping the port running. He further noted that port output slowed down due to COVID-19-related interruptions, calling on all stakeholders to work together to address such challenges. TradeMark Africa Deputy CEO and Chief of Programmes...

East African women traders: ‘Celebrating the past, planning for the future’

COVID-19 has hit women disproportionately hard across East Africa, especially those working in the informal sector. Lessons must be learnt to prevent this from happening again. Women in East Africa can look back over recent history with a sense of struggle and accomplishment, of regression and progression. Women's activism was ingrained in many of the independence movements that took hold across the region throughout the 20th century. In many respects, East Africa has achieved greater gender parity than many other parts of the world. Rwanda's lower house in Parliament, for example, is 61 percent female, the highest proportion globally, according to its Inter-Parliamentary Union. But increased representation has not always translated to real changes for ordinary women, especially in the world of business, a historic central pillar of the global drive for equality. 'Celebrating the past…' Activist Clara Zetkin, inspired by the nascent women's movement in the US, first suggested the idea of an International Working Women's Day in 1910, which was granted official status by the UN in 1975. The inaugural theme was 'Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future'. Today, women the world over are increasingly afforded more rights and freedoms. In Kenya, the introduction of the 'Linda Mama' insurance scheme ensures mothers can safely give birth without worrying about the financial cost. Initiatives like this will continue to lower maternal mortality rates, which saw a 49 percent drop across sub-Saharan Africa between 1990 and 2013. Across the region, all but two EAC members have achieved the 30...