TradeMark Africa’s drive for impact on a continental scale

It is a privilege to witness the growth of TradeMark Africa (TMA) as it reimagines and reshapes trade dynamics across Africa. TMA’s transformative approach and successful outcomes have firmly established it as an effective vehicle for donor investment in trade development; consequently, donor confidence has remained steady over the years. TMA’s dedication to overcoming challenges – seen in its trade development successes in frontier environments, its power to convene governments to support a singular trade agenda within economic blocks, its innovative approach during COVID-19, and its ability to deliver tangible results in complex environments – has deepened our confidence and pride in being part of the trade development journey. TMA’s mission remains important, not just for donors, but also for governments, regional economic communities, the private sector, civil society organisations, and like-minded development agencies in Africa and beyond.

In the past year, TMA’s strategic expansion into new territories, particularly West Africa, has not only marked a significant milestone in its operational footprint, but also demonstrated its ability to adapt and thrive in diverse environments.  This has been propelled by a strong governance system, with dynamic engagement from the Board and Council of Donors, both of which have served to harmonise and propel the organisation forward.

TMA has consistently demonstrated its capacity to bridge critical infrastructure gaps and enhance digital trade capabilities, thereby cementing its role as a key player in Africa’s trade narrative over the next decade. The robustness of its approach going forward lies in its ability to align work at the national, regional, and now continental level – not least regarding the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) – and then to keep innovating as new challenges and opportunities arise. Notable among these is the rise in importance of tackling major emerging issues around low carbon trade. We are proud of TMA’s aspirations for its coming seven-year strategy period, when helping the continent to develop rapidly and in a climate-resilient and inclusive way, will be critical. This aligns strongly with the shared vision of donors and countries where TMA operates, to leverage trade potential, both for positive economic and environmental outcomes. We want to position the continent as a pioneer in green trade, facilitating technology transfer and expertise to deploy low carbon technologies, while using digital, physical and policy solutions to further reduce emissions from transport systems across elected corridors.

To conclude, I am glad to note the EU’s approval of TradeMark Africa’s Pillar Assessment, which is a testament to the confidence that it has in TMA’s systems and processes. TMA’s multi-partner model is a core part of its effectiveness, and I look forward to further collaboration and harmonisation between TMA’s development partners.

The success of TMA’s first two strategic phases has set a high benchmark for what can be achieved with effective trade facilitation. We encourage more stakeholders to join us in supporting a proven catalyst for trade development and a beacon of hope for Africa’s prosperous future

 Discover more about TMA’s digital initiatives in the 2022/2023 Annual Report.