USAID EA TRADE HUB FTF UPDATE August 12 - 28, 2013

Feed the Future Update

August 12 - 28, 2013

The East Africa Trade Hub (EATH) carries out a number of activities every week in support of bilateral and regional FtF efforts.  Activities from August 12 - 28, 2013 included:

Capacity building of cross-border traders and agencies through sensitization on trade facilitation arrangement

The Trade Hub sponsored the Kenya Ministry of East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism (formerly the Ministry of Trade) in four Joint Border Committee (JBC) capacity building workshops this month in Namanga (14-15 August), Malaba (19-20 August), Busia (21-22 August), and Isebania (26-27 August). JBC members reviewed progress and challenges at the borders and engaged Cross-Border Traders Association members in discussions about issues like RADDEx 2.0, Simplified Certificate of Origin and Rules of Origin. EATH also facilitated border operations assessments at both borders to track performance in border management activities. Representatives from key government border agencies attended and responded to issues and concerns expressed by private sector stakeholders.

The session also aimed to increase awareness of the Trade Hub’s structured trade initiatives including Regional Agriculture Trade Intelligence Network, (RATIN), harmonized staple food standards and the Trade Help Desk.  The Trade Hub introduced the tools available, and facilitated a discussion of how to use the staple foods standards from a trader's perspective.  The group's consensus was that any tools that could be more frequently used my policymakers to permit regional trade of staple crops and avoid import bans would be welcomed, and participants expressed an interest in increased use of RATIN for real-time price and storage information. Nearly 80 private and public sector representatives attended each meeting.

Sanitary Phytosanitary Standards Working Group

The East African Trade Hub (EATH) provided funding for the National Phytosanitary Working Group (NPWG) meeting held on August 28, 2013 at the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. The goal of the NPWG meeting was to bring together institutions that deal with phytosanitary issues to share information on activities and develop strategies for better collaboration. Institutions that attended included KEPHIS, East Africa Phytosanitary Information Committee (EAPIC), Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock & Fisheries (MOALF), National Museums of Kenya, CABI-Africa, University of Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, and  the Kenya Flower Council.

The meeting was officially opened by the General Manager of Phytosanitary Services on behalf of the MD KEPHIS.  The GM reiterated the importance of having functional Phytosanitary Systems (PS) in the country to facilitate trade and access to markets. The EAPIC coordinator gave a brief background on EAPIC and its overall goal to have a functional and dynamic Pest Information Management System that shall facilitate the creation of pest risk assessments, leading to increased trade and food security in the region by 2015. EAPIC has grown with support from the East Africa Trade Hub.

After presentations from all institutions present, it was unanimously agreed that there is need for future collaboration. A major resolution was the involvement of Masters and Phd students in finalizing the pest lists already entered into PIMS (this approach has been tested in Tanzania and was very successful). KEPHIS was appointed as the driver/chair for this initiative. Key action points were outlined and timelines and persons responsible identified. The GM of Phytosanitary Services will finalize the NPWG terms of reference and present the same to the MOALF for funding consideration.

EAPIC will attempt to replicate this model of forming the NPWG in other East African countries. The various NPWG will be presented at the upcoming Regional SPS meeting later in September 2013.

KTA Driver Development Institute Partnership with IOM

EATH traveled to Mombasa on August 21-22, 2013 to discuss progress of the East Africa Heavy Commercial Vehicle Driving Institute and its partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In an effort to integrate health initiatives in the school’s curriculum, IOM is supporting the Institute by providing material and trainers on health services including HIV counseling and first aid training and increase awareness on human trafficking. EATH met with Kenya Transporters Association (KTA) CEO and Chairman of KTA’s Board of Directors as well as IOM’s Migration Health Program Officer. First aid trainings and HIV counseling is expected to start in the second week of October.

 


USAID EA Trade Hub FtF Update July 29 - August 9, 2013

The East Africa Trade Hub (EATH) carries out a number of activities every week in support of bilateral and regional FtF efforts.  Activities from July 29 – August 9, 2013 included:

Sanitary Phytosanitary Standards (SPS) Centre of Phytosanitary Excellence (COPE) e-learning Portal

The Trade Hub finalized the curriculum for an e-learning portal for the Centre of Phytosanitary Excellence (COPE).  This training course is designed as a supplementary program to the existing short-term in-service training program currently being offered by COPE.   This online course will be used to deepen the trainings offered to members of National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs), designed to make practitioners more aware of the structure of international trade, international organizations involved in phytosanitary matters, and to fully understand how to implement Pest Risk Assessments.

The e-Learning course is self-paced, but within a specified time frame by the course instructor. The participants are expected to have access to a computer with fast internet access to be able to complete these courses. In addition, participants will be invited to participate in chat forums with the tutors and other students to enhance their learning.

COPE was established by Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) to provide training for SPS professionals in the region and to streamline and ease the SPS inspection process at borders, which will expedite cross-border movement of staples. The EA Trade Hub continues to work with its partners to build the capacity of NPPOs to consistently manage and monitor SPS issues for staple foods and disseminate critical information more widely and more effectively.

The Trade Hub and KEPHIS plan to launch the e-learning course and portal by the end of the month.

Launch of upcoming African Grain Trade Summit

The EA Trade Hub joined the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) and grain industry stakeholders on July 30, 2013 to celebrate the launch of the 5th annual African Grain Trade Summit. This year’s Summit will be held from October 1 – 3, 2013 in Mombasa, Kenya. The theme is “Africa: The Emerging Frontier for Global Investments in Grain Trade.” The objectives of the summit are as follows:

  • Highlight opportunities for grain sector investment in Africa with a focus on the Eastern and Southern Africa region
  • Provide a platform for the African and global grain community to discuss and recommend solutions to policy, regulatory and industry bottlenecks that impede trade in the grain chain
  • Afford grain processors, service providers and industry suppliers a unique opportunity to showcase their products for benchmarking and trade and to network and share knowledge and experiences
  • Expose African grain practitioners and suppliers to new technologies and ideas for better efficiencies and quality

The Trade Hub intends to be a major sponsor of the event and will present on a number of achievements in structured trade since 2009. The Trade Hub will share knowledge management products that outline and reinforce these achievements.

Kenya budget synopsis briefing

The EAGC used the launch of the African Grain Trade Summit as an opportunity to brief its industry stakeholders on its annual post budget synopsis. The EAGC hosts a budget synopsis every year in each of the five East African Community countries to discuss budget implications on the grain sector. EAGC members then have an opportunity to put forth areas in which they would like the EAGC to engage with the government – with the hopes of creating a more efficient grain trade industry.

The Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) hosted the 3rd annual Agribusiness Expo at Kabarak University in Nakuru, Kenya under the theme of “Future of Agribusiness; Knowledge, Technology and Commercialization,” August 1-2, 2013.  The event attracted nearly 90 exhibitors, including seed and fertilizer companies, farm equipment manufacturers, post-harvest management systems, industry associations and others.  Exhibitors operated booths and demonstration plots showcasing crops or livestock associated with their products, and were actively explaining their products and best practices to the several thousand large and small farmers in attendance.  In the past this expo had been supported with the financial assistance of donors and the East Africa Trade Hub (EATH), but this year’s edition was financially self-sustaining through costs raised from exhibitors and sold sponsorships.    EATH was in attendance as one of EAGC’s strategic partners supporting the organizing team and in order to network with exhibitors on the latest innovations in agricultural commercialization.

Building Partnerships for the KTA Driver Development Institute Sustainability

On July 31, 2013, the Senior Program Coordinator for the World Bank’s Global Road Safety Facility and a senior delegation from TOTAL visited the Kenya Transporters Association’s (KTA) Driver Development Institute in Mombasa, Kenya. The TOTAL delegation included the Deputy Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, the Vice President for Sustainable Development Africa the Executive Director of TOTAL Kenya Limited and a senior oil executive from TOTAL’s Paris headquarters. This meeting was a follow-up of an earlier meeting held at the East Africa Trade Hub offices in Nairobi. Representatives discussed strategies to strengthen collaboration between the World Bank, TOTAL, KTA and the Trade Hub to ensure the success of the Driver Development Institute. The Trade Hub plans to implement critical capacity building activities to enable a constructive partnership between the Institute and these partners. The Trade Hub will begin by preparing the driving school premises for TOTAL’s comprehensive branding campaign.

On August 08, 2013 the Trade Hub met with The International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Head of the Regional Health for East and Horn of Africa to discuss collaboration on the KTA driving school. The Trade Hub committed to work with IOM to revise the draft curriculum to include modules addressing important social issues  like HIV prevention, prevention of human trafficking, and prevention of movement of contraband. IOM agreed to provide training capacity in these specialized areas. IOM will also provide training materials such as videos targeted drivers on the northern corridor.  One of the goals of IOM’s East Africa regional office is to promote health initiatives targeted towards long-distance drivers with a focus on HIV prevention and stigma reduction and prevention of human trafficking by focusing on truck drivers.


USAID EA Trade Hub FtF Update July 15 - 26, 2013

The East Africa (EA) Trade Hub carries out a number of activities every week in support of bilateral and regional FtF efforts.  Activities from July 15 - July 26, 2013 included:

The remaining 18 staple foods standards approved and declared as the East African Standards (EAS) 2013

The EA Trade Hub participated in the East African Community (EAC) Standards Management Committee (SMC) meeting on July 22 – 24and the East Africa Standards Committee (EASC) on July 25– 26, 2013 in Arusha, Tanzania. 

The SMC is the technical subcommittee arm of the EASC responsible for standards harmonization. The EASC is the top most decision-making organ in the EAC Standards Harmonization process before policy is finalized and gazetted by the Sectoral Council of Ministers.

At the meeting, the SMC reviewed the 18 Final Draft East African Standards (FDEAS) on staple foods products and confirmed that all procedures and processes were followed in accordance with the Standards Quality Measurement and Testing (SQMT) Act. They unanimously endorsed the standards for approval. The SMC then presented the draft standards to the EASC to approve and declare as the new East African Standards (EAS) 2013.

Meeting participants commended the Trade Hub for the steadfast support in the development and harmonization of these standards. The SMC pledged to collaborate closely with the Trade Hub in its efforts to disseminate the EAS to regional stakeholders. National standards bureaus will also participate at all stages of the development and sharing of awareness materials. The EASC requested that Partner States begin dissemination of these standards at the national level immediately, in collaboration with the Trade Hub.

The EAC Council of Ministers will meet on August 30-31, 2013 to declare the 18 EAS on Staple Foods ready for gazette. This final step is expected to take a month to finalize.

Since November 2009, EATH has been working with the East African Technical Standards Committee (EATSC), the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC), the private sector and National Bureaus of Standards in each of the five EAC countries to develop and support adoption of harmonized standards for 22 staple foods products.

The EA Trade Hub continues to build private sector awareness for RADDEx

On July 19, 2013, the East Africa Trade Hub (EATH) and East Africa Community (EAC) secretariat hosted a workshop in Mombasa, Kenya to sensitize private sector clearing and forwarding agents on customs interconnectivity through RADDEx 2.0.  The main objective of the workshop was to build private sector awareness of the recently developed RADDEx 2.0 transit bond cancellation feature and its application by clearing & forwarding agents.  The workshop was held in collaboration with the Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (KIFWA) and the Federation of East African Freight Forwarders Associations (FEAFFA).

Over 25 representatives from lead firms in Kenya attended.  The lead firms agreed to participate in a pilot of the RADDEx transit bond cancellation feature before it is rolled out to the rest of the industry. The industry roll out will include the Kenya Revenue Authority and KIFWA, with EATH acting as the technical lead.

Background

Goods transiting through Kenya that are destined for other countries are required by law to execute customs insurance bonds.  The objective of customs insurance is to ensure that the government is able to recover duties and taxes from the guarantors should the goods in transit be illegally disposed of in a transit country.  Delay in cancellation of bonds ties up working capital and hinders the efficiency of transit companies.

During FY13 Q3, EATH developed a special feature for transit bond cancellation for use by Kenyan clearing and forwarding agents. The current bond cancellation process is lengthy, tedious and very expensive as it requires hard copies of documents to be stamped at the border and then ferried by courier over 400 kilometres to Nairobi so that bonds can be cancelled.  The new feature built on the RADDEx 2.0 platform allows for paperless electronic cancellation of bonds.  RADDEx notification can reduce bond cancellation time from weeks to a single day.

EA Trade Hub- EAGC Joint Planning Meeting on Structured Trade Systems (STS)

The Trade Hub met with EAGC on July 16, 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss remaining STS activities under their grant, ending December 2013. The principal STS activities over the next six months will be to disseminate and promote the recently approved EAC grain standards. The Trade Hub and EAGC will continue to identify potential national partners with considerable grassroots reach who can support national implementation of the harmonized standards and who will be able to continue trainings on the country level going forward.  EAGC will host at least 5 meetings, 1 in each EAC country, doing an initial round of training that will reach at least 125 graders and stakeholders who will conduct future trainings.  The EAGC and the EA Trade Hub also plan to increase awareness of these standards by translating the promotional materials into more local languages, ensuring that standards sensitization is a key component of cross-border committee meetings. EAGC will also promote the harmonized standards at the upcoming Kenya Agribusiness Expo in Nakuru on August 1-2, 2013 and the 5th Annual African Grain Trade Summit in Mombasa on October 1-3, 2013. Finally, the Trade Hub will disseminate the STS Handbook with simplified versions of the standards for easier application to relevant stakeholders.

EA Trade Hub, Kenya Transport Association and Safe Way Right Way discuss way forward with driver’s institute

On July 19, 2013, the East Africa Trade Hub met with Safe Way Right Way (SWRW) at the Kenya Transport Association’s (KTA) new driver’s institute. This meeting was a follow-up to an earlier meeting held at the SWRW regional headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya on July 12, 2013.  The aim of the meeting was to explore ways to further build the KTA Institute’s capacity and ensure its sustainability by developing a consistent stream of clients for the Institute. Based on the meeting, the Institute plans to develop: (1) a handbook for drivers (2) a database of competent drivers (3) staffing plans (4) a training to cover light trucks (5) and a fast track for institution registration.

During the meeting, SWRW pledged to send over 7,000 of its drivers to the institute to be trained over a period of one year. These drivers would be drawn from lead firms (including their subcontractors) servicing the Northern Corridor, they include: Lafarge/Bamburi Cement, Bollore /SDV Transami, DHL, DT Dobie, East African Breweries Limited, TOTAL, Finlays, Roy, Transmotors and Roy Haulers. This agreement is on condition that the existing capacity of the institute is ramped up. If this business is secured, it would guarantee the institute a turnover of over $ 500,000 in one year.

 


USAID EA Trade Hub FtF Update July 1 -12, 2013

The East Africa (EA) Trade Hub carries out a number of activities every week in support of bilateral and regional FtF efforts.  Activities from July 1 – July 12, 2013 included:

The Regional Food and Nutrition Security Policy (FSNP)

The East Africa Trade Hub reviewed the first draft of an East African Community Food and Nutrition Security Policy. The Regional Food and Nutrition Security Policy (FSNP) aims to build synergies and assist with the implementation of existing national and sector policies and strategies to effectively address issues of food insecurity and malnutrition in the partner states of the EAC. Its purpose is to promote the nutritional status of the people of the East African region through multi-sector and harmonized interventions for the enhancement of food security, health and social and economic wellbeing. The FSNP is purposely formulated at a broad level that provides a policy basis for seeking resources, advocating higher priority interventions and developing operational and management strategies.

The EAC Food and Nutrition Security Policy Working Group plan to meet in mid-July to review and finalize the FSNP draft.

EA Trade Hub identifies clearing and forwarding companies to pilot RADDEx

The EA Trade Hub travelled to Kigali, Rwanda on July 1-5, 2013 and Bujumbura, Burundi on July 8-11, 2013 to identify and recruit clearing and forwarding (C&F) firms for a private sector pilot of the Revenue Authorities Digital Data Exchange (RADDEx).  The team targeted lead firms whose business represents over 60 percent of the traffic through Rwanda and Burundi borders.

The Trade Hub held meetings with CEOs and operations staff of these firms.  Over 30 declaration officers, representing over 11 major firms, with operations at six border posts were successfully recruited.  Managers and senior management in these firms also benefited from brief training on the workings of RADDEx and its benefits to the private sector.  Firms visited included: Bollore Africa logistics, UTi, DHL, and Spedag Interfreight, among others.  The Trade Hub also distributed RADDEx User Manuals to the firms visited.  The Trade Hub is now working with the revenue authorities in both countries to create RADDEx user accounts and allocate passwords to selected firms.  An intensive pilot will be conducted during the month of August 2013 to finalize improvements for private sector usage.

Mr De Ntibibuka, the managing director of UTi Burundi said of RADDEx, “This system will have far-reaching impact in the way we do our business and will be a big boost in making it easy to transact cross-border business in a land-locked country like Burundi.  Goods will move faster and it will also allow C&F companies to consolidate their operations and business regionally”.

UTi is a mega international logistics firm with its global headquarters in Long Beach, California and is listed on NASDAQ.  It is valued at over $5 billion and is an industry-leading, non-asset-based supply chain management company that delivers services in its global footprint of 350+ offices and 240+ logistics centers in 50+ countries worldwide.

Southern Africa Regional Food Balance Sheet (RFBS) Meeting

The EA Trade Hub participated in the Southern Africa Regional Food Balance Sheet meeting on July 3-5, 2013 in Harare, Zimbabwe. The Trade Hub was invited by The Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA) to provide technical and advisory support in hosting the regional RFBS stakeholder’s forum so that the Trade Hub could share its experience, expertise and knowledge in the development of RFBS in the East African Community (EAC).

ACTESA and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) have been piloting the RFBS in four southern African countries: Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe since January 2013. The pilots are aimed at developing RFBS structures and data pooling systems. Following the successful pilots in all four countries in May 2013, ACTESA proposed a harmonized template based on the template currently used in the EAC. 

The Trade Hub presented the RFBS process, structure and framework and offered advisory support on RFBS scoping, template definitions, harmonization and data collection methodologies. The Trade Hub also hosted a session presenting the advantages for ICT implementation of RFBS and explained the process of developing a multi-user, multi-tier web application with analytical reports for both national and regional outputs.

Southern Africa stakeholders agreed to adopt the EAC RFBS template and plan to launch a pilot RFBS for six commodities: maize, sorghum, millet, rice wheat and beans. Progress will be reviewed in December 2013

Real Time Volume Tracking System

The EA Trade Hub structured trade team met with the Regional Agriculture Trade Intelligence Network (RATIN) technical consultant on July 5, 2013 in Nairobi to discuss progress on the Real Time Volume Tracking system (RTVT). RTVT is now fully integrated within the RATIN framework: http://www.ratin.net/index.php/warehouses/real-time-volume-tracker. RTVT is a web-based warehouse volume tracking system that utilizes an Android mobile application to capture warehouse data and transmit it to the central server. From the central server the data is available on the RATIN website or via SMS data inquiry. The integration of RTVT into the system makes RATIN more robust and allows stakeholders to access information remotely and in real-time.

In the coming months, the EA Trade Hub will work with the Eastern Africa Grain Council to promote RTVT alongside other structured trade regional initiatives.

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USAID EA Trade Hub FtF Update June 17 - 28, 2013

The East Africa (EA) Trade Hub carries out a number of activities every week in support of bilateral and regional FtF efforts.  Activities from June 17 – June 28, 2013 included:

EA Trade Hub Launches Regional Sensitization and Training Campaign on Newly-Legislated Customs Manuals

The EA Trade Hub supported the East African Community (EAC) Council of Ministers to draft and formally legislate three technical customs manuals: customs procedures, customs valuation and post-audit clearance. The manuals represent a milestone in EAC customs policy and an important step in moving towards a fully-fledged customs union. To ensure widespread uptake and usage of the manuals, the EA Trade Hub will support the EAC in dissemination of all three manuals to customs officials at all regional borders, clearing and forwarding agents, and importers and exporters. The EA Trade Hub also plans to facilitate trainings on the manuals and implementation of their policies and procedures in the coming months.

Customs policy and procedures are key to trade facilitation. Burdensome fees and procedures associated with importing and exporting goods can greatly discourage cross-border trade while efficient customs practices can improve the trade environment for a range of public and private sector stakeholders including clearing agents, freight forwarders, brokers, insurers, revenue authorities, police, and plant and health inspectors.

Regional Food Balance Sheet Regional Meeting

The EA Trade Hub facilitated, with the EAGC, a Kenya food balance sheet data validation workshop on Monday, June 17, 2013 in Nairobi. The meeting was held in preparation for the East African Community (EAC) Regional Food Balance Sheet (RFBS) meeting in Arusha, Tanzania on June 19-21, 2013. Public and private sector stakeholders including the ministry of agriculture, Kenya Cereal Millers Association and private sector grain companies convened to ensure data entry on Kenya’s food balance sheet portal was accurate and discussed current challenges and constraints to food balance sheet activities in Kenya. The biggest hurdle to the Kenya food balance sheet remains accurate and timely data collection from private sector actors.

EA Trade Hub Supports Regional Africa Middle East (RAME) 2013 Freight Forwarders Conference

The EA Trade Hub sponsored the Regional Africa Middle East Freight Forwarders Conference held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on June 19-21, 2013. The event was hosted by the Tanzanian Association of Freight Forwarders Association (TAFFA), an affiliate of the Federation of East African Freight Forwarders Association (FEAFFA).

The conference was the first time freight forwarders around the world convened in East Africa for a major industry event and attracted over 300 participants including ambassadors, government officials, private sector delegates and trade representatives from around the globe. The conference was opened by the Vice President of Tanzania. The Tanzania Minister of Transport and the new International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association (FIATA) President also attended, as well as other high-level delegates.

The objective of the conference was to share knowledge and experience of international best practices on international transport and freight forwarding. Issa Baluch, Harvard University Advanced Leadership Fellow Professor and founder of Swift Freight International and, later Air Cargo Trader in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), presented on the future of international transport logistics. Baluch served as president of FIATA and authored two books, Transport Logistics: Past, Present and Predictions and Transport Logistics.

The EA Trade Hub presented on trade facilitation and the Revenue Authority Digital Data Exchange. (RADDEx 2.0). The EA Trade Hub had a booth to promote awareness of RADDEx, its benefits to the private sector and how to register.  The conference also enabled East African freight forwarders to reach consensus on key policy issues including One Stop Border Posts, the East African Customs Territory and cargo tracking.  East African delegates benefited from the experience of their counterparts from all over the world and many were able to finalize business deals and make new contacts.

Other event sponsors included Seedcol Global Shipping, NMB Bank, EB Maritime Holdings Authority, Tanzania Ports Authority, Express Tanzania Limited and the Tanzania Shipping Agents Association. The next FIATA conference will be held in Singapore in October 2013.

EA Trade Hub Sponsors Eastern African Grain Council (EAGC) Tanzania’s Agribusiness Expo 2013 in Arusha, Tanzania

The EA Trade Hub sponsored the Tanzania Agribusiness Expo 2013, hosted by the EAGC in Arusha, Tanzania on June 14-15, 2013. The expo, themed, “The Future of Agribusiness: Pathways to Commercialization,” was the second agribusiness fair to be organized by the EAGC in partnership with the Selian Agricultural Research Institute (SARI). The event was opened by the East African Community (EAC) Secretary General who applauded the event as a timely and relevant initiative that will have a positive impact on agricultural productivity, promote regional trade, improve food security and benefit regional integration efforts by creating business-to-business linkages among industry value chain actors.

Agribusiness fairs like the expo in Tanzania are designed to create linkages across value chain actors by bringing together small-scale farmers and farmer-based organizations (FBOs) together with leading regional traders, processors, research institutions and agriculture industry suppliers. They also connect farmers with service providers like agro-dealers, equipment suppliers, banks and insurance companies. The expo further provides businesses, organizations and agricultural institutions with a platform to showcase their new products and services, technology and innovations to a range of stakeholders.

Over 1000 farmers attended, mainly from the Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions of Tanzania and the event attracted over 20 regional and local exhibitors. Farmers also participated in trainings offered by EAGC on the recently harmonized EAC staple foods standards with a focus on maize, rice and beans. SARI also offered trainings on crop husbandry. Other exhibitors showcased the latest agribusiness technologies in post-harvest management, storage, agro inputs, pest control and horticulture farming technologies.

Other sponsors of the expo included Farm Machinery Division East Africa and Pulses and Agro Commodities Ltd.

Agribusiness expos are important for the EAGC because they enable the organization to reach a wide audience and also generate revenue, essential for the association’s sustainability. Agribusiness expos have become an important venue for regional exhibitors like, Cimbria East Africa, BrazAfric and Unga Feeds for launching new products and technologies.

Similar expos will be held in Uganda and Kenya. In Uganda, the expo themed: “The Future of Agribusiness: Quality key to competitiveness and commercialization” will be held on June 28-29, 2013 in Masindi, central Uganda. An agribusiness fair in Kenya is scheduled for early August at Kabarak University in Nakuru with the theme: “The Future of Agribusiness: knowledge, technology and commercialization.”

KTA Collaborates with Kenyan Government on Driving Institute

On June 20, 2013, the Kenya Transporters Association (KTA) Board of Directors met with the Director General of the Kenya National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) at the EA Trade Hub-supported Heavy Commercial Vehicle Driver Development Institute in Mombasa, Kenya. The objective of the meeting was to ensure that the institute’s curriculum is in line with a new curriculum for driving schools being developed by the Kenyan Government and also to discuss broader transport policy and safety. The Director General of the NTSA promised to collaborate with KTA in ensuring the school is a success. The NTSA was established last year and became operational in April 2013. The authority advises and makes recommendations to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport on matters relating to road transport and safety.


FtF update June 3 - 14, 2013

The East Africa (EA) Trade Hub carries out a number of activities every week in support of bilateral and regional FtF efforts.  Activities from June 3 – June 14, 2013 included:

East African Community (EAC) Trade Helpdesk trainings and awareness meetings in Rwanda and Burundi

The EA Trade Hub supported the EAC in facilitating national Trade Helpdesk (THD) workshops in Rwanda and Burundi on June 4-5, 2013 for public and private sector users. The THD national training sessions were designed to create awareness and equip participants with skills on how to use the THD portal in their daily work. These workshops followed similar trainings in Tanzania and Kenya on May 28 and 30, 2013. A final workshop in Uganda is expected later this month.

Participants learned how efficient the THD can be in obtaining information and data that might otherwise be difficult to source. For instance, with the THD, ministries of trade are now able to monitor trade flow of commodities of special interest to their country and assess their market performance in the EAC.  Participants from the private sector were happy to learn that with the THD, they can assess the EAC market potential at product level by using the THD to compare exports to EAC countries to exports outside the EAC.  A representative from the Kenya Association of Manufacturers said of the THD, “the EA Trade Hub is leaving behind a tangible product for EAC in form of the THD Portal that will revolutionize the way we do business, saving so many man-hours initially spent looking for information on EAC market size and tariffs at product level.”

The THD was designed to fill key information gaps on trade policies and trade statistics. The first phase of the THD development is complete and ready for utilization. It contains trade statistics (imports and exports) for the period 2008 and 2012, to suit various categories of users – policymakers, private sector traders and researchers. The portal also contains import duties that are levied on goods originating from within and outside the EAC. The Portal was designed as a tool for facilitating trade by providing tariff and Rules of Origin requirements for products. Thus, it enables an importer/exporter to search for applicable tariffs and rules of origin as they make decisions about exportation/importation of a given product. The THD also allows Partner States to assess their trade performance and market opportunities through trade flow statistics that the system avails at a highly aggregated level or product level.

The EAC plans further improvements in preparation for the official launch of the THD portal in September 2013.

EA Trade Hub registers participants RADDEx 2.0 pilot

From June 6-11, 2013, the EA Trade Hub launched a mass registration program for a pilot of the Revenue Authority Digital Data Exchange (RADDEx) 2.0 clearance and forwarding (C&F) module. This pilot is a small-scale experiment with a controlled group of C&F agents who will confirm the systems feasibility and allow for system developers to create counter measures to preclude any adverse events in the systems architecture prior to a full-scale rollout of the platform.  The team also worked with Association Burundaises des Agences en Douanes Transitaires (ABADT), Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (KIFWA), Association Des Agences en Douane au Rwanda (ADR), Tanzania Freight Forwarders Association (TAFFA) and Uganda Freight Forwarders Association (UFFA) and to identify the Chief Executive Officers of leading cargo clearing firms that are actively involved in transacting business across East Africa’s key borders namely Namanaga, Sirarai/Isebania, Malaba, Busia, Gatuna/Katuna, Rusumo, Kabanga/Kobero and Kanyaru/Akanyaru. The EA Trade Hub team will visit the five EA countries where they will demonstrate the benefits of RADDEx 2.0 and guide the firms on how to register with the Revenue Authority for the pilot.  The team has also prepared a registration kit that includes a RADDEx 2.0 Users Manual. This will be distributed regionally.

Donor coordination meeting - streamlining transit and border work in East Africa

The EA Trade Hub recently presented a summary of USAID East Africa’s transit and border work to a multi-donor coordination meeting held in Nairobi on June 4, 2013. Presentations were also made by the East African Community (EAC), World Bank, African Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Trademark East Africa, and the International Organization on Migration.  The aim of these donor coordination meeting is for donors and partners working in the EAC region to better coordinate activities and to keep all other donors up-to-date on activity progress and possible areas for collaboration.  The Trade Hub’s presentation focused on USAID’s support to the roll out of RADDEx 2.0 and the promotion of Joint Border Committees at each domestic border post. Both initiatives are aimed to help reduce the time and cost of crossing regional borders.  Several of the other donors focused on the progress of one-stop border posts (OSBP) at a number of key borders between Kenya and Uganda and Kenya and Tanzania.  JBCs are an important first step of coordination for OSBPs.

EA Trade Hub attends East African Grain Council (EAGC) Tanzania’s Agribusiness Expo 2013 in Arusha, Tanzania

EA Trade Hub is attending a two-day Agribusiness Expo organized by the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) at the Selian Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) in Arusha, Tanzania from June 14-15.

The theme of the expo is “Future of Agribusiness; Pathways to Commercialization.”  It brings together key players in the agro industry including agro dealers, farm implements traders, food processors, players in the financial sector including banks, insurance companies and research institutions among others. Participants will exchange views on interventions for enhancing the capacity of agribusinesses to create and raise earnings through sustainable agribusiness development. EAGC will take the opportunity to train farmers on the recently harmonized East African Community Grain Standards.

Eastern Africa Grain Council donor coordination meeting

The East Africa Trade Hub hosted a donor coordination meeting at the Trade Hub office on Thursday, June 6th, 2013 to discuss how to better coordinate the various streams of donor funds intended to support the multi activities of the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC). Attending the meeting were staff from USAID/East Africa, Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), the Trade Hub and EAGC. AGRA, also a supporter of the EAGC, was unable to attend but hopes to be able to be included in future coordination meetings.

The EAGC currently has several proposal processes underway for USAID (AIIM), the Trade Hub and SIDA and, as longstanding partners of EAGC, USAID and SIDA are keenly interested in coordinating all donor efforts. It is hoped that by meeting and discussing coordination, donors will  (1) gain a better understanding of EAGC’s operational plan to advance the organization’s 2013-2017 Strategic Plan; and (2) work together to clarify EAGC expectations for future potential partnerships.

All donors and EAGC expressed the necessity of harmonizing the various grant requirements and processes from the different donor organizations in order for EAGC to meet their membership services objectives. It was agreed that a follow-up meeting would be held before the end of June with EAGC tasked with coming up with specific scenarios on how to staff and fund overlapping activities.

EA Trade Hub discusses rapid assessments of health vulnerabilities across East Africa.

On June 5, 2013, the EA Trade Hub met with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) at their offices in Nairobi. IOM is currently carrying out six rapid health assessments across East Africa. The assessments seek to assess and document the health vulnerabilities, as well as the availability, acceptability and accessibility of health services for the different population groups around One Stop Border Posts (OSBP). Research sites within the OSBP study include, Uganda/Rwanda (Kagitumba-Mirama Hills) - 14-20 June 2013, Rwanda/Uganda (Gatuna-Katuna) - 24 -28 June 2013, Tanzania/Mozambique (Mtambaswala-Negomano) - 20 -24 June 2013, Tanzania/Zambia (Tunduma-Nakonde) - 14-18 June 2013, Burundi/Tanzania (Kober-Kabanga) - 27-30 June 2013, and South Sudan/Uganda (Nimule-Elegu) - 8 -12 June 2013.

The Trade Hub would like to collaborate with IOM on border work. This meeting set the stage for doing so.