On May 11, the Hub hosted a roundtable discussion for traders along the Busia border (Kenya/Uganda) with special guest U.S. Ambassador Robert Godec. Cross-border traders shared anecdotes about how the Hub's new Regional Traders Association Development Project (implemented by grantee Agricultural Market Development Trust) is helping them expand their businesses, access finance, and move more toward formal trade. The traders also shared their hopes for the formation of an East African Cross Border Traders Association, which grant activity will help them form.
Above, AGMARK Director CEO James Mutonyi (left) with U.S. Ambassador Robert Godec (right) at the roundtable discussion.
The regional cross-border traders association will provide cross-border traders with a stronger voice in the East African Community (EAC) and a stronger role in the formulation of trade policies. As an association, they will be invited to sit in influential trade committees in the EAC and they can directly conduct activities on behalf of their membership, e.g information sharing, policy advocacy, etc. The regional association will also be crucial for the enforcement of EAC trade documents, such as harmonized EAC grades and standards, and use of the Simplified Trade Regime (STR).
"The skills acquire will enable members to gain knowledge to be able to conduct formal trade, advocate for food traders in the area, increase bargaining power of traders in the region," said James Mutony, AGMARK CEO.
More broadly, the Hub and AGMARK's Regional Traders Association Development Project supports the increased access, availability, and use of African-grown staples food through regionally integrated markets, which contributes to food security.