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.