The Hub recently concluded a seven-month training program, with partner Agricultural Market Development Trust (AGMARK), to build the capacity of rural cross-border traders, with an emphasis on women and youth. A total of 232 cross-border traders (73% of whom were women) participated in the program to improve their capacity in enterprise management, structured trade, East African Community grades and standards, cross-border trade regulations, market information and access to finance. Improving the capacity of these traders and helping them to embrace formal trade mechanisms reduces the transaction costs of staple foods trade in the region and supports more effective agricultural markets. The Hub’s support to cross-border trade efficiency contributes to economic growth and the attainment of the U.S. government's Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative, Feed the Future, objectives.
The Hub and AGMARK are also helping to facilitate the formation of an East African Cross Border Traders Association (EACBTA). The EACBTA will provide cross-border traders with a stronger voice in the East African Community (EAC) and a role in the formulation of trade policies. As a regional 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 and policy advocacy,
The Hub and AGMARK have convened sensitization meetings of trader group representatives across the region to build consensus on the objectives, agenda, constitution and leadership structure of the regional association. In mid-October, the two organizations held a Regional Traders Convention in Kampala, Uganda to discuss and validate the association’s agenda, constitution and leadership structure, and to elect interim office bearers.
The launch of the East Africa Cross Border Traders Association is scheduled for December 7, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya.