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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.

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.

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.

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

Published on June 12, 2018


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.

Video: Tanzania Gender Lens Investment Showcase at a Glance

Published on June 11, 2018

Three budding women entrepreneurs won funding to advance their businesses through the Gender Lens Investment Showcase held by New Faces New Voices in collaboration with the USAID Hub in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Salome, who emerged top, hopes to scale up her butchery production and increase her market share from the current 32 percent to 55 percent. Installing new modern machinery, increasing hiring additional staff and purchasing two refrigerated distribution vans are among the plans that she has to scale up.

USAID Hub has identified access to finance as a major constraint for micro, small, medium and even large female-owned and/or -led businesses in its three years of operation. This can be attributed to the investment community’s low level of awareness of high-potential, scalable and profitable female-owned and/or -led business that are ready for investment. Additionally, a number of promising female entrepreneurs and/or business leaders lack the opportunity to engage with the investor community, especially those focused on investing in female-owned and/or -led businesses.

Gender lens investing is the practice of funding women-owned businesses that have a proven track record of employing women and/or help to improve the lives of women and girls with their services and products. The Gender Lens Showcase contributed significantly to the USAID Hub’s work in promoting investments for female-owned and/or -led businesses in Tanzania.

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New on our Knowledge Center: Ethiopia Economic Update

Published on June 07, 2018

Ethiopia_Economic_Update.JPGThe Ethiopia Economic Update is a publication by the World Bank. It discusses Ethiopia’s growth strategy, emphasizing the sustainability of the country’s investment-focused and export-led growth model.

The publication also looks at the interlinkages between manufacturing and services, with a special focus on the role of distribution services in promoting Ethiopia’s export competitiveness and eventually its structural transformation.

Hub represents East African footwear manufacturers at popular New York trade show

Published on June 07, 2018

The Hub is currently in New York at the Fashion Footwear Association’s (FFANY) “Market Week” to showcase East Africa as a footwear sourcing destination. Thousands of retail buyers visit the FFANY trade show to discover new footwear collections and make sourcing decisions.


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Kenya improves country compliance with WTO TBT Agreement, making trade easier

Published on June 06, 2018

Last week Kenya adopted the draft country position paper on 8th Triennial Review on operation and implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement during a stakeholders’ meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. This was a culmination of the USAID Hub-supported national stakeholders’ preparatory workshops, conducted by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS). Participating stakeholders provided feedback on the agreement’s operations and implementation, and agreed upon key concerns to present to the WTO TBT Committee on behalf of Kenya, scheduled for 19-21 June 2018 in Geneva. The review process contributes to the effective and efficient implementation of the WTO TBT Agreement, which ensures that regulations, standards, testing and certification procedures do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade.

Twenty-six stakeholders participated in the meeting. Attendees included major economic players drawn from public and private sectors institutions who work towards the implementation of WTO TBT Agreement.

The WTO TBT Agreement requires that WTO members review the agreement every three years. During the review period, all WTO members are encouraged to submit recommendations on how to make the agreement’s implementation more effective and efficient. The WTO TBT Committee then considers the proposals on a rolling basis. Kenya was able to beat the deadline for submission of substantive proposals by members that had been slated for June 1, 2018.

With the Hub’s support in convening stakeholders and raising awareness of the review’s importance, Kenya will be able to continue its high level of participation in the Triennial Review and improve the country’s compliance level to WTO TBT Agreement. In turn, this will advance Kenya’s trade relationship with the East Africa Community (EAC) Partner States and the U.S., leading to a better regional and international trading and investment environment.

U.S. buyers look to increase sourcing of Burundian coffee

Published on May 31, 2018

Five U.S. coffee buyers traveled to Burundi from May 20-23, 2018, to experience Burundi’s coffee supply chain and establish direct lines of communication with coffee producers and exporters. The mission, organized by the African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA) with grant support from the USAID Hub, led to potential specialty coffee sourcing deals valued at $150,000. Some of the buyers also took samples for cupping in the U.S., which may attract additional deals in the coming month.

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U.S Government provides Kenyan companies with tools to increase trade and investment with U.S.

Published on May 31, 2018


On May 30, the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), in collaboration with the USAID Hub, USAID, U.S Embassy – Nairobi, Kenya Airways and Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives, held its first Doing Business with the U.S.A. Forum. The forum brought together participants from numerous sectors, including agribusiness, trade, technology, merchandise, apparel and textile production, crafts, education, tourism and services. The event equipped the participants with information that will enhance their capacity to leverage business opportunities in the U.S. The event introduced the participants to resources that facilitate trade between Kenya and the U.S., notably opportunities under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and available U.S. and Government of Kenya support via the various agencies mandated to support bilateral trade between Kenya and the U.S.

The U.S Ambassador to Kenya, Robert Godec, delivered the keynote address and emphasized the U.S Government’s commitment to support trade and investment between U.S. and Kenyan companies.

"Kenya’s strengths are the reason why we have seen an unprecedented wave of American companies exploring the Kenyan market, seeking partners and opportunities, bringing their technology, innovation, and enthusiasm for Kenya with them.  My team at U.S. Embassy Nairobi is already, and will continue to be, an active partner supporting these companies, the U.S .and Kenyan private sectors, and you.  Many U.S. government agencies at the Embassy work every day to increase our trade and investment ties, including our Foreign Commercial Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, Economic Office, and USAID," said Ambassador Godec.

In support of the U.S. Government’s goal of increased trade and investment, the USAID Hub assists companies seeking to take advantage of AGOA. From October 2014 to March 2018 the cumulative AGOA exports from Kenya to the U.S. were valued at $1.4 billion,. As part of the USAID Hub’s AGOA information dissemination goal, the USAID Hub delivered a presentation on opportunities under AGOA, helping more companies take advantage of duty-free access to the U.S. market.

“There are 6,421 duty-free lines of product that can be exported from Kenya under AGOA. Time has come to look at AGOA as a great opportunity to grow trade with the U.S.,” said National Vice Chair Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry, James Mureu

On June 28, AmCham in collaboration with several partners will hold the inaugural AmCham Economic Summit 2018 at the UN Complex, Gigiri. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross will deliver a keynote address as part of his visit to Kenya.

"The visit by the Commerce Secretary and the summit will be another step in our close and growing bilateral partnership.  For more than 50 years, we have worked together in so many areas… security, healthcare, education, agriculture, trade and investment, and much more.  Hand in hand, we’ve improved the lives of Kenyans and Americans.  Our relations are government to government, business to business, civil society to civil society, university to university.  And, they are people to people.  The tapestry of our relations is vibrant and varied.  We are great partners," said Ambassador Godec.