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TAL Apparel Produces First Dress Shirt in Ethiopia

Published on March 23, 2017

Global garment manufacturing company TAL Apparel operates 11 factories across Asia, producing quality apparel for some of the world’s top brands and retailers. They have now come to East Africa. Last week, they produced their first dress shirt in Ethiopia’s new Hawassa Industrial Park.

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Burundi Takes a Step Towards Ratification of the EAC SPS Protocol

Published on March 22, 2017

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Burundi Members of Parliament agreed to push for ratification of the East African Community (EAC) Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Protocol following a Hub-supported awareness workshop. Burundi and Tanzania are the only remaining EAC countries that have yet to ratify the Protocol. Ratification of the EAC SPS Protocol by all the EAC partner states will pave the way for domestication of the Protocol, including the drafting of harmonized regulations based on the EAC SPS Bill covering plant health, animal health and food safety. Harmonized SPS regulations among the EAC Partner States will contribute to greater intra-EAC and international trade.

The Hub conducted the SPS Protocol awareness-raising workshop in collaboration with the Burundi Bureau of Standards and Quality Control. High-ranking government officials, including two Cabinet Ministers, four members of Parliament (including the President of the Committee on agriculture and livestock) and Senate, representatives of competent authorities responsible for plant health, animal health and food safety, private sector and the academia attended. Workshop facilitators outlined what participants have to gain by ratifying the SPS Protocol, including:

  • Better food safety measures
  • Improved plant protection and animal health.
  • Enhanced risk mitigation arising from pest, pests, diseases and food safety concerns e.g. aflatoxins
  • Improved competitiveness of the produce originating from the EAC region to external markets, such as the European Union
  • Stronger coordination of institutional frameworks for enforcing of SPS measures within the EAC region.
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New on our Knowledge Center: Agricultural Leasing Market Scoping Study for Sub-Saharan Africa

Published on March 22, 2017

Capture.PNGAgricultural Leasing Market Scoping Study for Sub-Saharan Africa is a publication of FSD Africa. It showcases leasing as a form of finance that is very relevant for agriculture but is rarely available to the agricultural sector.

The study helps to identify constraints within the core market (supply and demand), the market functions that support the sector and the policy and regulatory systems that govern the sector.

The market scoping is a starting block for development partners who may be interested in promoting growth within the agricultural leasing sector.

 Visit the Knowledge Center for this study and more.

Forty-Six Postharvest Technology Innovators from East Africa to Compete for USD 30,000 in Seed Capital

Published on March 22, 2017

Panelists for the East Africa Postharvest Technologies Competition 2017 have selected 46 innovators, from over 200 applicants, to undergo accelerator training on how to package and pitch their technologies to investors. The training will help the innovators expand their opportunities for scaling up and disseminating their technologies to a wider market. The training will take place in Tanzania on April 4-6, 2017.

Applicants are competing for the best technological solutions to address post-harvest losses. They hail from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.

The Inter Region Economic Network (IREN) is conducting the inaugural East Africa Postharvest Technologies Competition 2017 through a grant from the Hub. The objective is to spur the development of innovative technologies that reduce food loss and waste in Africa.

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Hub Identifies High-Potential Companies and Investors at Global Entrepreneurship Congress

Published on March 16, 2017

The Hub identified six high-potential companies and investors who could benefit from its investment facilitation services at this year's Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The companies came from Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America to participate in the Global Agripreneur Innovations competition at the first Africa-held GEC. They presented highly innovative solutions focusing on water conservation, farm, soil management and clean energy solutions for cold storage. USAID South Africa's Mission Director officially opened the agripreneur competition, highlighting the U.S Government’s efforts in increasing trade and investment in South Africa and referenced the recently launched USAID South Africa Trade and Investment Hub as a resource.

 

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Uganda EAC Common Market Implementation Compliance Update

Published on March 16, 2017

uganda_cmp.JPGOn March 15, Uganda's Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of East African Affairs led her staff, public officials from other ministries, private sector and the Hub in updating Uganda's progress in implementing the EAC Common Market Protocol. Government ministries and regulators provided updates on the stage of reforms that they have achieved in relation to key commitments to the free movement of capital, services and goods. Of note is that the Investment Code Bill 2017 -- prepared with Hub input -- has now been endorsed by Uganda's cabinet and presented to parliament for adoption. The code removes several measures that constrain access to Uganda's markets for investment and improves its compliance to the movement of capital.  You can view the Hub's complete presentation here.

The Hub holds regular country updates to appraise the private and public sector on the progress the EAC Partner States are making toward full implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol. The Hub’s supports these sessions to strengthen Uganda’s legal and regulatory environment for expanded trade and investment. The protocol creates a framework for economic integration among Partner States where there is free movement of goods, labor, services and capital.

In partnership with leading advocates of the High Court from all the East African Community Partner States, the Hub has collected and analyzed bills and Acts of Parliament, drafts and existing regulations and administrative notices from Uganda and the other EAC Partner States over the last three months, and has prepared presentations highlighting these efforts. The presentations assess progress towards implementing key trade and investment-facilitating commitments in respect to the EAC CMP. 

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New on our Knowledge Center: Survey to Explore Growth Barriers Faced by Female Entrepreneurs in East Africa

Published on March 15, 2017

Capture.PNGSurvey to Explore Growth Barriers Faced by Female Entrepreneurs in East Africa is a publication of Graça Machel Trust. It gives an introduction and background to challenges that female entrepreneurs face, and discusses their tendency to remain in micro and small businesses because of access to finance. 

The report also sets out the individual and business profiles of women entrepreneurs, and outlines findings that provide insights on the gender profile of the businesses, the support available to these businesses, and attitudes towards insuring the businesses.

Its recommendations are useful in addressing identified business concerns, and offers a conclusion that promotes gender lens investing.

Visit the Knowledge Center for this report and more.

Hub Signs Grant with AGMARK to Support Cross-Border Trade in Staple Foods

Published on March 15, 2017

Capture.JPGOn March 13, the Hub signed a grant with the Agricultural Market Development Trust (AGMARK) to support the reduction of transaction costs for cross-border trade in staple foods. Cross-border trade in East Africa is characterized by inefficiencies, high transaction costs and low competitiveness. Studies have shown that cross-border traders lack business management skills and knowledge on the requirements to trade across borders. Traders also confront high storage costs and handling loses through spillage, pest damage and contamination, which lower the quality and quantity of grains and diminish profits. Through the Hub grant, AGMARK will build the capacity of cross-border traders on enterprise management, structured marketing systems and efficient staple foods cross-border trade. AGMARK will also facilitate the formation of an East African Cross Border Traders Association.

“This grant is important because it will bring a positive change in the cross-border trade of grains. We’re excited to see the sequence of activities that will follow this signing,” said Hub Chief of Party Juan Estrada-Valle. 

The first activity under the grant will be a training of traders on financial literacy for enterprise development, with a focus on managing working capital, basic record keeping, pricing, and marketing. AGMARK will also introduce traders to structured trading systems, including the harmonized East African Food Staples Standards.

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Improving the Policy Environment for Trade & Investment In EAC

Published on March 09, 2017

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From March 2 -3, Uganda’s Ministry of East African Community (EAC) Affairs convened the 2nd Strategic Meeting of Permanent Secretaries responsible for EAC Affairs, in partnership with the Hub. The objective: formulate a region-wide strategy to accelerate implementation of the Common Market Protocol (CMP). The strategy will ensure that all EAC Partner states have access to: 1) timely legal and regulatory updates for regulators and relevant ministries; 2) concise reform memoranda on the specific adjustments required to effect a reform; and 3) expert advice for national implementation committees to help address priority reform issues.  

Forty-three participants attended the workshop, including Permanent Secretaries and key representatives from the five EAC Partner States. During its presentation, the Hub provided an update on the status of CMP implementation and highlighted bills that are currently under consideration by MPs that are inconsistent to the EAC CMP. The Hub also provided several recommendations with emphasis on the need to affect a “Common Market Test” for legislation that is presented to the region’s national assemblies, before they are debated and promulgated.

The PSs and Secretary General noted with appreciation the initiatives undertaken by the Hub and recommended the following to Partner States:

  • Ensure that all new national laws/regulations are CMP compliant
  • Develop an implementation test to track CMP compliance of new bills and draft regulations
  • Develop transparent notifications and awareness systems in line with WTO standards
  • Set up institutional frameworks at national and regional levels to ensure compliance with the procedure and mechanisms for strengthening of communication in support of the CMP

Meeting participants cited several other key challenges to implementation of the CMP and discussed recommendations for the same. Recommendations discussed will be tabled for consideration at the next convenient meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers.

The Hub’s partnership with Uganda’s Ministry of East African Community Affairs and SEATINI (a leading trade policy think tank) has led to reform proposals in the country’s Investment Code, which have been forwarded for Cabinet’s adoption. The Ministry has also embarked on a partnership with the Hub to regularly disseminate Hub findings on the latest common market regulatory developments, and to use its convening authority to request regulators and other departments to implement suggested reforms contained in those updates (see the latest Uganda Dissemination Presentation here). The Hub has made several other reform proposals in partnership with its grantees that if adopted will improve the legal and regulatory environment for trade and investment in the region, through supporting implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol provisions on the movement of goods, services and capital.

Exploring Barriers to Growth for East African Women Entrepreneurs

Published on March 09, 2017

From March 7-8, the Hub sponsored and participated in the New Faces New Voices pre-launch event for its Survey to Explore Barriers to Growth Faced by Female Entrepreneurs in East Africa. The survey identified what sources of capital women entrepreneurs have used to get their businesses to the current stage and what modes of capital they intend to use to expand their businesses.

The report accurately captures the challenges that women entrepreneurs face in growing their businesses. We at the Hub address one of the major challenges by helping women entrepreneurs access finance. Our gender lens investing concept is a new approach to providing inclusive growth for women-owned businesses,” said Hub’s Investment Specialist, Liz Muange.

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The survey polled women entrepreneurs in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. At least 71% of the women surveyed started their business from their own savings, with an average initial investment between US $1,000 and US$5,000. They then invest their earnings to grow the business. According to participating female entrepreneurs, the decision to self-finance is based on a belief that they do not have the requirements to access funding or that they fear accessing external funding when they suspect that their business cash flows will be irregular or unpredictable.

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