NAIROBI – 4 October, 2013
Tea Board of Kenya (TBK) and TradeMark Africa ( TMA ) have announced the launch of a new online portal that will enable tea industry stakeholders to interact with their regulator TBK online. The online portal has automated TBK’s processes, making them available electronically. This new development is expected to affect the tea sector by reducing transaction time, increasing efficiency in service delivery, resulting in the reduction of the overall cost of doing business.

Speaking at the launch, the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Mr. Felix Koskei said “The launch heralds an important milestone for business and trade in the tea industry. As you are aware, ICT is one of the key instruments identified and adopted by the Government to spur economic growth for our country. There is no doubt that ICT is the answer to the many challenges that we have experienced in service delivery and trade facilitation. Our economy cannot be competitive if we continue to be bogged down with slow manual processes even as we face competition from other global players.” The tea industry plays a key role in the agriculture sector with tea output contributing about 11% of the agricultural sector’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Tea exports also play a lead role in the Kenyan economy. Tea exports generated 26% of the total foreign exchange earnings in 2012.

The TBK online portal will re-engineer the processes used by the board to bring in greater efficiencies. Through the portal, stakeholders will be able to apply for operational licenses, renew existing operational licenses, make monthly and annual statistical returns, and register tea exports and imports. Tea Board of Kenya Acting Managing Director Mr. Magara said, “Today we are launching a tea industry web based e-portal whose development commenced early last year with the support and sponsorship of the Trade Mark East Africa ( TMA ). We are indeed grateful to TradeMark Africa (TMA) for supporting this project that is set to transform business processes in the tea industry. Stakeholders in the industry have always looked forward to the day they will transact business on their desks through the Internet and in so doing improve efficiency. That dream has now become a reality and those who have been involved in the pilot test can confirm the benefits.”

The online portal was developed in close partnership with TradeMark Africa (TMA) who provided technical and financial support to TBK. “TradeMark Africa (TMA)’s mission is to promote rapid advances in East Africa’s integration, trade and global competitiveness for all East Africans. We aim to grow prosperity in East Africa through trade with the belief that enhanced trade contributes to economic growth, a reduction in poverty and subsequently increased prosperity. TBK has embarked on a journey towards the realization of a national electronic single window system, which is part of Trademark’s wider ICT agenda for trade in the region. This portal will cut down the transaction cost and lead time in the processing of transactions. It will also enable TBK to realign its resources efficiently and optimize on time and cost sensitive transactions. TradeMark and TBK’s aim is to see the reduction in the cost and time of doing trade transaction by as much as 35%, this means like all ICT systems, this portal is a living system, born today and its growth and success of attaining these objectives depends on all our concerted efforts to collaborate as stakeholders to nurture and improve the system by giving feedback and suggestions for enhancements; what we officiate today is just the beginning; the first step in a journey of a million steps”, said TradeMark Africa’s Kenya Country Director, Dr. Chris Kiptoo.

As part of the Kenyan governments digitization process, the TBK portal will also be integrated with other government agencies including Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) via an interface with the Kenya National Single Window currently in development by the Kenya Trade Network Agency (KENTRADE). Speaking at the launch of the TBK online portal, KENTRADE CEO Mr. Alex Kabuga said, “The National Single Window and other agency online portals will work in tandem to boost regional and international business by enhancing national and regional integration. This will have a direct impact and result in an improved business environment, increased investment, and economic growth.”

TBK has been engaging various stakeholders in the tea industry through various workshops countrywide during the pilot phase. Kenya Tea Growers Association Chairman (KTGA), Mr. Charles Kipn’gok echoed stakeholder support for the online portal saying, “The move from a manual to an online system will result in time savings and improved processes. It has reduced duplication when lodging documents and eliminated the need to physically move from one office to another.”

Kenya tea industry
L-R, Dr. Chris Kiptoo, Country Director, TradeMark East Arica, Ms. Anne Onyango Ag. Agriculture Secretary and Bernard Mutai, ICT Change Management Consultant, TradeMark Africa.

TBK has provided support functions to enhance uptake and access of the online portal through kiosks with technical assistance at all their regional headquarters countrywide. The TBK online portal will also facilitate controlled and secure online electronic document processing at the comfort and convenience of stakeholders.

TBK is responsible for regulating and promoting the tea industry as well as facilitating research in all aspects of tea growing, manufacture and pest and disease control. The Board is also mandated to oversee the smooth running of the tea industry through policy guidance, licensing, registration and trade development.

TradeMark Africa (TMA) is providing business process automation and web-based portals to various trade facilitation agencies to allow for easier access to standardised trade information and documents, improved and consistent application of trade regulations by trade facilitation agency staff, increased compliance rates by traders and increased transparency and accountability in import and export trade operations.

These solutions also enable government agencies and the private sector to participate in the eventual national and regional electronic Single Window Information for Trade (SWIFT) that will reduce time and costs for traders and trade facilitation agencies in the East African region. SWIFT is a trade facilitation concept whose implementation allows cross-border traders to access, apply for and submit regulatory documents at a single location.

Source: TradeMark Africa(TMA)


TradeMark Africa (TMA) is an aid-for-trade organisation that was established with the aim of growing prosperity in East Africa through increased trade. TradeMark Africa (TMA) operates on a not-for-profit basis and is funded by the development agencies of the following countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, UK, and USA. TradeMark Africa (TMA) works closely with East African Community (EAC) institutions, national governments, the private sector and civil society organisations.