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

Published on June 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.