Author: tradeuser

E-commerce for green trade in Africa

[vc_row css=".vc_custom_1579853773155{margin-bottom: 10px !important;}"][vc_column][rev_slider alias="e-commerce-for-green-trade"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text] On 23rd January 2020, over one hundred delegates convened in Nairobi for the Second two-day Epower Forum aimed at driving the E-commerce agenda in Africa. Through funding from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) partnered with Amari Consulting to convene women traders who shared their experiences on cross border trading and how they can leverage on the envisioned benefits of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area. Speaking at the event, TMEA Director for the Women in Trade Programme, Gloria Atuheirwe said, “Ecommerce is a platform that gives women-owned enterprises, both formal and informal, and opportunity to expand their business in the East African Community and beyond.” Reflecting on the master class held on day one that provided participants with insights on ecommerce penetration, adoption and applicability, Abigail Bundi, Chief Executive Officer of Amari Consulting Limited said, ‘’Last year ecommerce traded US$ 3.5 trillion worldwide proving that it’s an increasingly lucrative option for businesses. It’s no longer a question of whether we should sell online or not, it’s HOW.” TMEA’s ICT for Trade programming contributes to reducing barriers to trade and cost of doing business within the East African region through automation of key trade processes and systems. Through various interventions, cross cutting benefits are accrued which include eliminating periods of process inaction occasioned by manual activities when acquiring trade documents; reducing transactional costs in acquiring trade regulatory documents; and increasing process transparency therefore stakeholder confidence and trust in the management of...

The time is ripe to fully unlock the UK and Africa’s trade potential

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The road to Brexit has been both long and winding, and over the past three and a half years we have heard arguments from both sides as to what this historic change will mean for Britain, and the wider international community. The UK-Africa Investment summit taking place today is a clear indication that despite concerns, the UK will fall behind with international trade, the Government is taking seriously the very real opportunity Brexit provides to expand and improve its trade relationships with one of the most culturally diverse, innovative and fastest developing continents in the world – Africa. For too long, Africa has been overlooked and undervalued as a trading partner. Previous administrations have focused their attentions on developing strategic economic partnerships with countries likes of China, Japan, Germany and India, at the expense of both regional and a continent-wide economic framework in Africa. Bilateral trade between the UK and Africa totalled £28.7 billion in 2016. The UK imported £12.7 billion in goods and services from Africa in 2016. In fact, the value of UK-Africa trade in 2018 remained largely unchanged from a decade before. At the time of former Prime Minister Theresa May’s Africa tour in 2018, the entire African continent accounted for just three per cent of all UK good and services exports, by stark contest Europe took the lion’s share – 54 per cent. Compared to other trading partners the UK is lagging far behind. The US, China, Germany and Japan have all established specific trading initiatives...

You inspired us to take charge of change

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]We are profoundly saddened at the death of Ali A. Mufuruki, the founding Board Chairperson of TradeMark East Africa (2015 – 2018). Ali passed away in South Africa on 8th December 2019. Ali was one of the most remarkable Africans of his generation, an inspirational leader who made great contributions to industrialisation in Africa, to technology and research; to innovation and technology, entrepreneurship, business and to private and non-profit sector governance. He also established the Africa Leadership Initiative that has played a key role in developing ethical leaders across the Continent.  Ali was deeply committed to his country, to the economic integration of East Africa, and to Africa as a whole. He was an ardent champion of African Continental Free Trade Area and fiercely advocated for the involvement of private sector. Ali had an immediate positive impact when he joined TMEA’s first Governance body in late 2012. He went on to leading formation of a talented TMEA Board in 2015, on which he served with distinction until 2018. He was a popular and highly engaged Chairperson, always ready to provide advice and perspective on leadership, governance, transformative economic models and industrialisation in Africa. Ali co-authored an influential book on Industrialisation in Tanzania in 2017, which helps to guide TMEA’s work. He also co-led a review of the UK’s work on supporting trade in Africa with Lord Green and the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Trade in 2016. After standing down we continued to work with Ali and the Afro-Champions...

Simulations forecast far-reaching economic benefits for Eastern Africa from AfCFTA

TradeMark East Africa and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Brief History of Integration in Africa The push for greater economic integration in Africa is not a new phenomenon by any means. Efforts to achieve some level of continental integration can be traced as far back as 1960, also nicknamed “the year of Africa” due to the heightened spread of Pan-Africanist sentiments, culminating into the independence of the largest number of African countries of any other year in history. Arguably, no period in this almost-70-year span has presented a more dire need for integration – and the global economy provides grounds for this assertion. Events such as the ongoing Sino-American trade war and Brexit are an indication of an impending reversal in the expansion of world trade. In fact, in the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) recent estimation, the volume of global merchandise trade grew by just 3 percent in 2018, down from 4.6 percent in 2017. By contrast, according to Afreximbank’s Africa Trade Report 2019, intra-African trade has been increasing steadily and it further accelerated in 2018, growing by 17 percent to reach US$159.1 billion. If anything, this provides a great premise for adopting growth strategies that leverage the regional markets more aggressively., The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), signed by 44 countries (now 54) in Kigali in March 2018 is the perfect opportunity in the pursuit of this goal. The Case for Intra-Regional Trade in Eastern Africa There are several reasons why Eastern Africa stands to benefit considerably...

Annual Symposium, a Fruit Bowl of Research, Policy and Practice on Inclusion of Women in Trade

We at TradeMark East Africa were pleased to recently launch a series of annual events we call Sustainable and Inclusive Aid for Trade (SIAT) symposia.  Our first event, organised in partnership with the University of Portsmouth, brought together over 300 delegates from around the world to learn and share practical experiences and policy approaches to the Inclusive Participation of Women in Trade for Sustainable Development. One of our communications team members shared the experience on social media, calling it “a fruit bowl of research, policy and practice.’’  That phrase stuck with me as an apt way to describe what we had hoped to achieve in designing the symposium. Plenary sessions provided a platform for high-level discussions focusing on emerging issues, building new ideas and sharing lived experiences.  Break-out sessions were interactive, where presenters engaged with a small group of participants in discussing evidence on the conference sub-themes. On the day before the main conference, a Master Class comprised practical, hands-on knowledge sessions hosted by subject matter experts to a select audience of practitioners and policy makers. My enviable task at the end of the programme was to sum-up this amazing fruit bowl!  It was a challenge to do so. We had covered so many interesting topics and we had traversed from macro-level ideas—from the opportunities demonstrated globally to the potential of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and regional economic integration—to national level experiences in policy and practical experiences on the ground from individual cross-border traders.  Throughout the event, academicians and practitioners presented robust...

A promising new continent-wide trade agreement for Africa

The new African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is expected to be a game changer, boosting inter-African trade, spurring manufacturing, and creating economic opportunities. But for its benefits to be realised, the details need to be negotiated; and Africa’s leaders need to commit to AfCFTA for the long haul. On 21 March 2018, 44 African states signed the African Union’s (AU) AfCFTA in Kigali, Rwanda. According to the AU, which initiated the process in 2015, the goal is to “Create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments,” with the purpose of accelerating intra-African trade. If, and when, all 55-member states of the AU sign the AfCFTA, the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) notes that the trade agreement will, “Cover a market of 1.2 billion people and a GDP of US$2.5 trillion [more than €2 trillion].”   Among the largest African economies, Nigeria and South Africa have not yet signed the AfCFTA. Nigeria’s President is facing pressure from labour unions and other groups who believe that the agreement will hurt the Nigerian economy by undermining local businesses. South Africa indicated its political support for the AfCFTA but stated that further internal consultations, as mandated by its constitution, were needed before signing it.   IMPLICATIONS FOR TARIFFS AND TRADE With current tariffs of 6%, ATPC notes that African businesses face higher tariffs when they export within Africa than when they export outside the continent. As AfCFTA eliminates tariffs on intra-African trade, this should encourage African businesses to trade within Africa. Intra-African trade could be boosted by...

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