Regional traders made 113 trade commitments for 454,532 metric tons (MT) of commodities valued at $196,478,900 at the fifth – and largest – B2B forum hosted by the USAID Hub in partnership with the USAID Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub and Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC). Of these deals, 105,394 MT valued at $96,789,300 were staple foods (maize, mixed beans, rice, sorghum and green grams). Other traded commodities included pigeon peas, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. To date, Hub-sponsored B2B forums have facilitated regional trade commitments for over 1.93 million MT of grains and pulses.
The forum took place on June 19 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where there is a surplus of grain. It brought together 127 participants from nine countries across Eastern and Southern Africa, providing a platform to move staple foods to deficit areas for food insecurity alleviation. Andy Karas, the Mission Director from USAID/Tanzania participated in the forum, as did Godfrey Malekano from Tanzania Merchantile Exchange and Prof. Damian Gabagambi from the National Development Corporation. Other participating organizations included TradeMark East Africa, the Clinton Foundation and Aga Khan Foundation. Financial institutions such as First National Bank, National Microfinance bank, Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) and Maendeleo Bank were also represented.
Food insecurity remains a significant challenge in Eastern and Southern Africa. Millions of people require emergency food assistance and many more are food insecure. Measures to stop trade exasperate the effects of climate change and political instability on people’s ability to secure sufficient food. Despite these challenges, the two regions have the potential to feed themselves and achieve food security within a generation.
The B2Bs seek to increase the access, availability and utilization of staple foods across the regions by bringing together actors who don’t traditionally do business with one another. This creates an opportunity to address impediments to trade and improve the flow of staple foods from areas with excess production to those in need. Ultimately, this provides a sustainable, private sector-led alternative to emergency food assistance and advances countries’ journeys to self-reliance.
To learn more about the Hub’s B2Bs, read our compendium here.