guiding strategy


TMA’s work is underpinned by a series of interrelated propositions that guide what it does together with its partners. These propositions are underpinned by knowledge, assumptions and beliefs about how and why particular actions are expected to trigger particular changes. Propositions do not predict change. These propositions are called ‘theories of change’. At TradeMark Africa, the theory of change is synonymous with strategy.

There are several layers to TradeMark Africa’s theory of change. The logic or theories can be viewed as a hierarchy where the inter-relations between the different theories link up across TMA’s areas of work. This section outlines TradeMark Africa’s understanding of the bigger picture and its areas of focus.

Our Pillars For Success

There are various pathways from increased trade to sustainable and inclusive prosperity. TMA's theory relies on the assumption that increasing trade affects the economy in such a way that reduces poverty, particularly for those working in sectors and geographic areas more affected by international trade. At the higher end of the theory of change, we believe two key necessary elements contribute to increasing trade.

Reducing Barriers To Trade

Barriers to trade in Eastern Africa significantly raise trade costs for firms, eroding the competitiveness of the region’s goods and services, inhibiting exports and ultimately stifling prosperity. High internal or regional trade costs present a major obstacle to firms’ ability to connect to global value chains, effectively nullifying any comparative advantage by rendering exports noncompetitive. TMA believes it can reduce barriers to trade through the following:

  • Improved sustainable efficiency and capacity of transport infrastructure
  • Improved trading standards and reduced non-tariff barriers to trade
  • Effective trade systems and procedures
  • Improved trade regulatory environment
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Increased Business Competitiveness.

To take advantage of trade opportunities, the private sector in Eastern Africa must be able to compete in the global market and with inflows of foreign imports to the EAC. The private sector must produce safe and competitive goods and services on time for their customers, as part of a functioning and efficient market system. Through its Outcome 2 interventions, TMA will facilitate these market functions, fostering close partnerships with the private sector and promoting crowding-in and replication of successful relationships. This is all with a view to enhancing the scale of its impact and future sustainability through market-based solutions.

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