TradeMark Africa Signs MOU with Overseas Development Institute to Promote UK-Africa Trade and Investment

On the heels of the first UK-Africa Investment Summit, hosted by the UK Prime Minister and attended by over 20 African Heads of State, TradeMark Africa (TMA) is pleased to announce it is signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

TMA, one of the largest Aid for Trade organisations worldwide, works to reduce barriers to trade and increase business competitiveness in the East Africa region so as to contribute to economic growth, reduce poverty and increase prosperity. Active since 2010, the not-for-profit has worked alongside governments, private sector and civil society actors to record a number of impressive result, such as a 70 per cent reduction in the average time it takes to cross borders and a $62 decrease in the clearance cost per transaction along key corridors in the East African Community (EAC).

To be signed by TradeMark Africa’s CEO Frank Matsaert and ODI’s Managing Director Simon Gill on Tuesday January 21st, the MOU will seek to build on an already collaborative approach to facilitating trade and development in Africa.

Prior to the formal signing, Frank Matsaert will join Lord Paul Boateng (Vice-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Trade out of Poverty), Claire Akamanzi (CEO, Rwanda Development Board), Maximiliano Mendez-Parra (Senior Research Fellow, ODI), Rachel Turner (Director of Economic Development, Department for International Development) and Vera Songwe (Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa), in a public event entitled ‘Increasing UK Investment in Africa’ at the ODI offices in London. The event will be streamed live online and available to watch via the ODI website.

Both TradeMark Africa and ODI believe that the UK is an important investor across Africa. With Africa’s projected population increase and clear economic growth potential, coupled with the UK’s departure from the European Union, the time is ripe for both the UK and Africa to secure mutually beneficial trade and investment opportunities. Until now trade between the UK and Africa has been woefully underexplored and by working together with private and public sector partners, they hope to make a meaningful impact on Africa’s economic prosperity.

“TMA is delighted to be signing this MOU with ODI, which is respected and recognised globally for its research and analysis that seeks to contribute to our understanding of how to work towards a sustainable and peaceful world,” Matsaert stated ahead of the signing.

“Over the past decade TMA has built up a strong track record of Aid for Trade projects that deliver results and contribute to our vision for a prosperous Eastern Africa. Working with the East African Community (EAC), the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the African Union (AU), we will continue to use our technical expertise, deep understanding of trade, and partnerships with leading development-focused actors such as ODI to support regional integration and increased trade, notably through the Africa Continental Free Trade Area. By doing so we seek to support increased and lasting prosperity in the region.”

Dr Dirk Willem te Velde, Head of the International Economic Development Group, said “ We are delighted with the MOU with TMA, the world’s leading Aid for Trade programme. Over the past decade, TMA’s activities have already reduced trade costs in East Africa considerably, benefiting traders, creating jobs and transforming economies. ODI’s expertise around industrialisation and regional integration in Africa can help nudge TMA’s effectiveness further.”