Transport and Logistics Industry targeted as catalyst in improving trade and competitiveness in the region.

Dar es Salaam – November 6th, 2013
A new fund that is expected to herald the use of innovative technologies and cutting edge business practices in the transport and logistics industry has been launched. The $16 million TradeMark Africa Logistics Innovation for Trade (LIFT) fund was launched today, marking a big step towards reducing the region’s logistics and transport costs through innovative solutions. The fund is expected to find unique solutions that will improve the trade competitiveness of the region and contribute to prosperity in East Africa.

East Africa currently has some of the highest freight and transport costs in the world. These costs seriously erode the competitiveness of goods exported by East African countries, thus reducing trade, economic growth, job creation and poverty reduction. LIFT is designed to change this by supporting and adding to existing activities of TradeMark Africa (TMA). LIFT’s impact will be to reduce transport time along the main transport corridors in East Africa and to contribute to TradeMark Africa (TMA)’s objective of reducing transport time along the main transport corridors by 15% by 2016.

Official launch of the Logistics Innovation for Trade (LIFT) Fund. From Left to Right, TradeMark Africa (TMA) CEO, Frank Matsaert, Tanzania Deputy Minister for Transport, Dr. Charles Tizeba, UK Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening, Tanzania Deputy Minister for East African Cooperation, Dr. Abdulla Juma Abdulla and Deputy Secretary General, East African Community, Dr. Enos Bukuku.

Speaking at the launch, UK International Development Secretary Justine Greening said: “Trade can lift countries out of poverty for good, but bad infrastructure, lengthy delays and red-tape mean that goods often struggle to get to market. We need to find new ways to unblock bottlenecks and make East African countries more competitive. Backed by Britain, this new project could help reduce transport times in the region by 15 per cent over the next three years.”

Frank Matsaert, CEO of TradeMark Africa, highlights the challenges: “The East African region continues to be plagued by high costs of doing business. Transport and logistics costs are predominant drivers of this inefficiency, estimated at 42% of the total value of imports and as high as 75% of the value of exports. A 10% reduction in transport costs is likely to increase trade by 25% worldwide, more in Africa where transport costs are higher. Without logistics efficiency problems being addressed, East Africa’s growth potential will be seriously constrained.”

The LIFT fund is supported primarily by the UK government and other governments including Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden and the United States. The LIFT fund will provide matching grants on a competitive basis to leverage substantial private sector investment into freight and other logistics technologies and business processes in East Africa

According to Regional Director for Private Sector Development, Lisa Karanja: “The new fund is aimed at leveraging private sector investment in cutting edge technology to transform the logistics industry and improve the region’s competitiveness, stimulate and accelerate further innovation and research; and create systems for tracking industry performance and efficiency. By improving the efficacy of the transport and logistics industry in East Africa, the LIFT Fund is poised to help turn East Africa into one of the economic powerhouses of the continent.”

TradeMark Africa ( TMA ) is a not-for-profit organisation that works to grow prosperity in East Africa through trade. TradeMark Africa (TMA) works closely with the East African Community (EAC) institutions, national governments, private sector and civil society to increase trade by unlocking economic potential through increased market access, enhanced trade environment, and increased product competitiveness.The TradeMark Africa Challenge Fund (TRAC) aims to promote cross-border trade in East Africa by investing in good ideas that can boost trade and contribute to economic growth in the region. LIFT is implemented by the TradeMark Africa Challenge Fund (TRAC) and will work throughout East Africa.

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.