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Hub Facilitates Implementation of the WTO Notification System by EAC Partner States

Published on June 22, 2017

As part of the Hub’s work of facilitating implementation of the US-EAC Cooperation Agreement the Hub conducted a national stakeholder’s workshop on TBT/SPS online Notification Submission System (NSS) on June 19-20 in Nairobi, Kenya. The objective of the workshop was to train officials from ministries and government institutions responsible for implementation and administration of World Trade Organization (WTO) TBT and SPS Agreements. The twelve officials trained are directly involved in developing technical regulations, conformity assessment procedures and SPS measures,  

“Enhancing skills, awareness and building capacity on the practicality of notifications brings harmony between the notifications from WTO NSS System and the National Notifications Authority (NNA),” said Phyllis Githaiga, Assistant Coordinator for Trading Standards at the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS).

 “Apart from building capacity of government ministries and agencies that formulate regulations to meet the transparency obligations to WTO, there is need to ensure that more agencies are brought on board in order to get more diverse submissions,” said George Opiyo, Training Facilitator.

The Hub will conduct more national training workshops in Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania to ensure all EAC Partner States are able to easily submit these notifications using the NSS System, leading to a better regional and international trading and investment environment.

Background

The WTO TBT/SPS Notification Submission System (NSS) is an online notification system used by WTO member countries to submit TBT and SPS updates to the WTO Secretariat. The WTO Agreements on TBT and SPS contain provisions on transparency requirements and procedures. These transparency provisions aim to achieve a greater degree of clarity, predictability and information exchange about trade policies, rules and regulations of WTO members. Notifications is the main instrument for improved transparency. Currently, East African Community (EAC) Partner States share their TBT and SPS notifications with the WTO through the WTO TBT/SPS NSS,  as an e-mail attachment, fax or as regular mail. The notification is then processed by WTO Secretariat and finally disseminated to stakeholders within WTO members using different methods, including the ePing electronic alert system. However, these different methods lead to incomplete submissions.  The WTO TBT/SPS NSS system addresses these issues, making sure that a common template is used by all WTO member states, ensuring the complete submission of information.   The WTO TBT/SPS NSS system is complementary to the ePing system which has been successfully implemented in the EAC region with support from the Hub.

The U.S.-EAC Cooperation Agreement requires EAC Partner States to establish an effective process to ensure that they notify proposed measures on TBT/SPS to other members of WTO. Compliance with the Agreement will ensure that EAC Partner States have an effective notification processes and that they comply with the requirements under WTO Agreements on TBT and SPS. In order to implement this, there is need to train national notification authorities, enquiry points and relevant regulatory authorities on how to submit domestic notifications to other WTO members using the WTO’s TBT/SPS online NSS system.

 

Save the Date: International Institute of Food Technologists Expo 2017

Published on June 22, 2017

Sourcing opportunities for niche processed foods (and beverages) exist in East Africa.  Products from the region such as nuts, dried fruits, fruit juices, jams and sauces have found access to export markets, including the U.S. To facilitate increased trade of processed foods by East African exporters into the U.S market, the Hub is supporting processed foods and beverages manufactures exhibit their products at the International Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Food Expo in Las Vegas on June 25-28.

IFT is one of the leading food shows for ingredients suppliers in USA, attracting over 20,000 attendees representing food science professionals from over 90 countries across the globe. The expo provides exhibitors with the opportunity to meet with over 1,000 exhibiting companies on the forefront of the latest global food trends. It also provides exhibitors with an opportunity to experience the newest products, latest trends, and cutting-edge innovations.

Check out this video to learn about one of the Hub sponsored companies exhibiting at IFT.

New on our Knowledge Center: Second Private Equity In East Africa Survey Report, 2017

Published on June 22, 2017

EAVCA_REPORT.JPGSecond Private Equity In East Africa Survey Report, 2017. This is the second Survey out of East Africa that authoritatively documents the private equity and venture capital activities in the region. The Survey builds upon the sector tracking in our first issue that covered the period 2007-2014. The KPMG/EAVCA Survey methodology was through questionnaires, supplemented by other information sources such as discussions and international reports. The results documented in the report represent the position of 28 private equity and venture capital funds that participated in this year’s Survey, a significant increase from the 18 respondents that participated in our first Survey. East Africa has demonstrated resilience against turbulent economic times to record above continental average GDP growths. This is attributed to improvement in governance, and the relative currency stability that many of East Africa’s economies enjoyed during the period 2015-2016. Furthermore, as a net importer of petroleum products, East Africa has a natural hedge that cushioned it from the turbulent commodity price crisis that rocked other parts of Africa.

U.S and Africa leaders discuss ways of fostering strong trade and investment ties

Published on June 22, 2017

Africa provides incredible investment opportunity however there are significant challenges that investors and businesses on the continent have to grapple with. From June 13 – 16, the Hub participated in the 11th Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Washington, DC to discuss the challenges of doing business in Africa and to proffer actionable solutions for seizing opportunities.

The Hub’s Investment Director participated in a women in business panel discussion focusing on the importance of capital, venture support and the role of blended finance in supporting female owned businesses. Rahama Wright, Founder and CEO, Shea Yeleen Health and Beauty, LLC a social enterprise that sources raw Shea from Ghanian village women one of the panelists described her start-up journey and the key requirements that she had to fulfill to successfully raise her first round of funding and was able to access private equity investment in her third year of operation.  Other panelists included Karen Henken, Vice President, Business Development at Kountable, Inc; Selena Cuffe, Co-Founder, President and CEO of Heritage Link Brands; Nena Stoiljkovic, Vice President Blended Finance & Partnerships International Finance Corporation.

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New on our Knowledge Center:The Food Environment in the U.S

Published on June 15, 2017

The_Food_Enviroment.JPGThe Food Environment in the U.S. The specialty foods market is hot in the U.S. right now. Americans have become savvier about nutrition, flavor and processing. They want to know that their food is safe and that it was manufactured according to global best practices, including worker welfare. When they look at food labels, they want to see fewer ingredients, no chemicals and transparency in origin; and, they are insatiable. The U.S. specialty foods market welcomes more than 40,000 new products every year.

Kenyan and Ethiopian flower exporters seek to increase their U.S market presence

Published on June 15, 2017

The cut flowers industry is an important sector for several countries in East Africa, chiefly Kenya and Ethiopia.  Kenya is the top exporter of roses to the European market, and both Kenya and Ethiopia are eyeing expansion into new markets, especially to the U.S. because of its duty-free status under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

From June 14- 15, the Hub is supporting eight Kenyan and Ethiopian flower exporters to exhibit at the International Floriculture Trade Expo in Chicago, IL through a grant to Kenya Flower Council and Ethiopian Horticulture Exporters Association. The International Floriculture Exposition (IFE) has provided the exhibitors with an opportunity to meet with the highest-volume buyers from the floral industry, connecting them with companies that offer an array of products and services.

The Hub’s participation at the expo contributes to its objective of facilitating a 40 percent increase in exports from the East Africa region to the U.S under AGOA.

The IFE Expo boasts over 60,000 square feet of floral exhibits, featuring anything a floral category buyer might need for their department from cut flowers and potted plants to giftware and accessories. It provides an opportunity for exhibitors to meet hundreds of vendors face-to-face. 

The Hub supports increased coffee exports from the region

Published on June 15, 2017

From June 6-8, the Hub and its grantee African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA) hosted a regional cupping workshop. The training brought together ten top cuppers from Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania to learn about the new Taste of Harvest Competition and auction protocols. The cuppers learned about lead-time schedules, cupping standards and auction logistics process.

“This is the first time that best Cupping Judges in Africa have come together to discuss the process of the taking the Taste of Harvest to the next level. This eye opening strategic workshop has allowed AFCA and Bean Auction to capture useful feedback to not only to standardize the project protocols but also create Taste of Harvest Ambassadors and a world class auction attracting the more international buyers” said Martin Maraka, the Grant Project Manager at African Fine Coffees Association.

Watch the video to learn more about the training.

The objective of the training was to build capacity of top regional cuppers to meet the Taste of Harvest Competition head judge, competition and auction standards.

 “The workshop has been great and relevant with knowledge on the direction of the Taste of Harvest with the benefits clear and well put, this will improve the reputation of the competition that had reduced in previous years due to unclear direction and reduced benefits.” said Clare Rwakatogo from Uganda Coffee development Authority.

“The knowledge acquired from the training will enable me as a cupper from a coffee producing countries with a common platform for upgrading our skills. This encourages sustainability of coffee producers and gives quality advantages.” said Asnake  Kasa, Coffee Liquoring Unit, Ethiopia.  

The top cuppers will now take what they learned back to their home countries to become trainers for coffee exporters and cooperatives there. 

 

East African Innovators: Postharvest Technology Innovators Directory

Published on June 14, 2017

In May 2017, the Inter Region Economic Network (IREN) and the Hub conducted the inaugural East Africa Postharvest Technologies Competition 2017. The competition yielded some fantastic technologies in the areas of drying, storage, ICT, and logistics. Now you can find out more about the technologies and directly contact the innovators through our Postharvest Technology Innovators Directory.

The competition was a six-month-long process that attracted 249 entries from across East Africa. The top 46 entries competed in Arusha, Tanzania in early April, from which the top 25 finalists were selected. Grace Akumu’s innovation, a Bench-Type Manual Maize Sheller, emerged as the best postharvest technology with Donatus Njoroge’s Ocimum Species Stored Grains Protector taking second place while John Kirigiti’s Solar Drier took third place.

East Africans shows great potential in terms of producing ready-to-scale technologies that help increase food security in the region. The Postharvest Technology Innovators Directory lists the top 25 innovators around East Africa whose technologies are already having an impact in the region. Access the directory here.

New on our Knowledge Center: The Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) policies of the African Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and the way forward for the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA)

Published on June 08, 2017

SPS-_Knowledge_Management.JPGThe Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) policies of the African Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and the way forward for the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) is a brief by the Trade Law Centre (Tralac), with the support of the Development Assistance section of the German Government through the Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB).

The report is based on a recently completed study comparing the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) policies of the African RECs. The study focuses on the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). This trade brief provides an introduction to the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) and an overview of the WTO SPS Agreement, together with a brief list of general observations, identified issues and some recommendations on the way forward for the CFTA.

Hub and CABI partner to train stakeholders on plant health risk assessment

Published on June 08, 2017

From June 6- 8, the Hub partnered with the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) to conduct a technical training program on Plant Health Risk Assessment in Nairobi, Kenya. Competent authorities responsible for the three sanitary and phyto sanitary (SPS) areas of plant health, animal health and food safety participated, as well as experts from the public and private sector. Participants learned how to practically apply risk analysis methods with the aim of facilitating safe intra-regional and international trade. The program covered risk assessment methods and tools (qualitative and quantitative); information sources and documentation of assessment; approaches to risk management; implementation arrangements for risk assessment; risk communication; application of risk analysis in risk based approaches, which facilitate trade; risk assessment as the basis for negotiations on SPS measures.

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