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  • New on our Knowledge Center: Supporting Small-Scale Cross-Border Traders across Africa

    Published on June 14, 2018

    Bridges_Africa_June_2018.JPGSupporting Small-Scale Cross-Border Traders across Africa is the theme topic in this month’s Bridges Africa issue, published by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD).

    This issue focuses on small-scale cross-border trade and its tremendous potential despite challenges posed by its informal nature. It emphasizes that ongoing trade facilitation interventions need to cater for the needs of small-scale traders, especially women. Governments and development partners are currently making concerted efforts to facilitate trade, increase productivity in export-oriented sectors, and improve competitiveness. However, these need to be better targeted to ensure that small-scale cross-border traders are reached by these interventions and that it is not just large traders who benefit.

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    USAID Hub supports access to working capital for SMEs at Ignite My SME seminar

    Published on June 14, 2018

    The USAID Hub participated in the latest Ignite My SME seminar organized by FACTS Africa in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The seminar is the last of ten seminars to train small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners on how to access working capital for their businesses, with a focus on agribusinesses. Over 100 delegates attended, including agriculture and agribusiness SME owners, representatives from USAID Tanzania’s ENGINE project, representatives from the USAID Tanzania mission, and eight Hub-sponsored women who trade along the border of Rusumo, Tanzania. 

    FACTS Africa specializes in the provision of working capital for agribusiness SMEs in Kenya and Uganda, and is planning to expand its services to Tanzania. Despite having a simpler application process and more lenient terms than banks, Facts Africa noticed low success rates of loan applications with 90% of them being turned away due to falling short of requirements. As a result, they developed day-long seminars to provide a platform for SMEs to gain knowledge on how to access finances as well as interact with stakeholders from financial institutions and development partners running various financial access and Business Development Support projects.

    Previously, the Hub supported eight women cross-border traders from Kenya to attend the Nairobi league of the seminar in November 2017 and ten Ugandan traders who participated in the Kampala seminar held in March 2018. The women received useful information on working capital solutions, financial management, operations, and essentials of credit worthiness and the use of technology to scale their business.

    The eight Tanzanian women cross-border traders are also engaged with the USAID Hub through a grant with the Agribusiness Focused Partnership Organization (AGRIFOP), which aims to drive formal trade in the East African Community (EAC) through the empowerment of women cross-border traders in the staple foods and horticulture sectors.

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    Save the Date: Source Africa

    Published on June 14, 2018

    On June 20 – 21, the Hub is supporting three textile and apparel companies from Tanzania, Mauritius and Madagascar to exhibit at Source Africa in Cape Town, South Africa. The event brings together suppliers, manufacturers, service providers and buyers all under one roof to promote African made apparel, textiles and footwear. Participating companies, including the three Hub-sponsored firms, will have the opportunity to make connections with attendees from around the world and explore potential sourcing deals. Through these interactions and their resulting business, Source Africa aims to boost investment into the region and ensure sustainable job creation. The event also contributes to the Hub’s efforts to promote two-way trade with the U.S under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and regional markets.

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    USAID and Ugandan government launch roadmap for science, technology and innovation

    Published on June 12, 2018

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    This past week, science, technology and innovation took center stage as catalysts for economic growth in Uganda. On June 8, the Government of Uganda, USAID and the Hub kicked off the process to design Uganda’s first Sector Development Plan (SDP), which will serve as the backbone of the recently established Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI). The SDP will ensure that plans, policies and programs in the sector align with Uganda’s national development frameworks of Vision 2040 and National Development Plan (NDP II) and contribute to MOSTI’s mission to enable greater industrialization, competitiveness and employment.

    The Hub will support the SDP’s development in close collaboration with the Government of Uganda. Hon. Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation; David Obong, Permanent Secretary; and Emmanuel Freddy Mugunga, Undersecretary, provided remarks during the launch and engaged with participants to review and validate the objectives, methodology and milestones that will guide the SDP’s development.

    Laura Gonzalez, USAID/Uganda’s Acting Deputy Mission Director, stated, “Like Uganda, the U.S. government places great value on the role that science and technology play in spurring economic development. Looking at our own history in America, investment in research and development has been critical to the expansion of our own country’s economy.”

    Through the new SDP, MOSTI will provide policy direction, set national standards and coordinate all matters related to scientific research, technology and innovation activities, paving the way for transformative bold new ideas in Uganda.

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