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 15 - July 26, 2013 included:
The remaining 18 staple foods standards approved and declared as the East African Standards (EAS) 2013
The EA Trade Hub participated in the East African Community (EAC) Standards Management Committee (SMC) meeting on July 22 – 24and the East Africa Standards Committee (EASC) on July 25– 26, 2013 in Arusha, Tanzania.
The SMC is the technical subcommittee arm of the EASC responsible for standards harmonization. The EASC is the top most decision-making organ in the EAC Standards Harmonization process before policy is finalized and gazetted by the Sectoral Council of Ministers.
At the meeting, the SMC reviewed the 18 Final Draft East African Standards (FDEAS) on staple foods products and confirmed that all procedures and processes were followed in accordance with the Standards Quality Measurement and Testing (SQMT) Act. They unanimously endorsed the standards for approval. The SMC then presented the draft standards to the EASC to approve and declare as the new East African Standards (EAS) 2013.
Meeting participants commended the Trade Hub for the steadfast support in the development and harmonization of these standards. The SMC pledged to collaborate closely with the Trade Hub in its efforts to disseminate the EAS to regional stakeholders. National standards bureaus will also participate at all stages of the development and sharing of awareness materials. The EASC requested that Partner States begin dissemination of these standards at the national level immediately, in collaboration with the Trade Hub.
The EAC Council of Ministers will meet on August 30-31, 2013 to declare the 18 EAS on Staple Foods ready for gazette. This final step is expected to take a month to finalize.
Since November 2009, EATH has been working with the East African Technical Standards Committee (EATSC), the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC), the private sector and National Bureaus of Standards in each of the five EAC countries to develop and support adoption of harmonized standards for 22 staple foods products.
The EA Trade Hub continues to build private sector awareness for RADDEx
On July 19, 2013, the East Africa Trade Hub (EATH) and East Africa Community (EAC) secretariat hosted a workshop in Mombasa, Kenya to sensitize private sector clearing and forwarding agents on customs interconnectivity through RADDEx 2.0. The main objective of the workshop was to build private sector awareness of the recently developed RADDEx 2.0 transit bond cancellation feature and its application by clearing & forwarding agents. The workshop was held in collaboration with the Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (KIFWA) and the Federation of East African Freight Forwarders Associations (FEAFFA).
Over 25 representatives from lead firms in Kenya attended. The lead firms agreed to participate in a pilot of the RADDEx transit bond cancellation feature before it is rolled out to the rest of the industry. The industry roll out will include the Kenya Revenue Authority and KIFWA, with EATH acting as the technical lead.
Goods transiting through Kenya that are destined for other countries are required by law to execute customs insurance bonds. The objective of customs insurance is to ensure that the government is able to recover duties and taxes from the guarantors should the goods in transit be illegally disposed of in a transit country. Delay in cancellation of bonds ties up working capital and hinders the efficiency of transit companies.
During FY13 Q3, EATH developed a special feature for transit bond cancellation for use by Kenyan clearing and forwarding agents. The current bond cancellation process is lengthy, tedious and very expensive as it requires hard copies of documents to be stamped at the border and then ferried by courier over 400 kilometres to Nairobi so that bonds can be cancelled. The new feature built on the RADDEx 2.0 platform allows for paperless electronic cancellation of bonds. RADDEx notification can reduce bond cancellation time from weeks to a single day.
EA Trade Hub- EAGC Joint Planning Meeting on Structured Trade Systems (STS)
The Trade Hub met with EAGC on July 16, 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss remaining STS activities under their grant, ending December 2013. The principal STS activities over the next six months will be to disseminate and promote the recently approved EAC grain standards. The Trade Hub and EAGC will continue to identify potential national partners with considerable grassroots reach who can support national implementation of the harmonized standards and who will be able to continue trainings on the country level going forward. EAGC will host at least 5 meetings, 1 in each EAC country, doing an initial round of training that will reach at least 125 graders and stakeholders who will conduct future trainings. The EAGC and the EA Trade Hub also plan to increase awareness of these standards by translating the promotional materials into more local languages, ensuring that standards sensitization is a key component of cross-border committee meetings. EAGC will also promote the harmonized standards at the upcoming Kenya Agribusiness Expo in Nakuru on August 1-2, 2013 and the 5th Annual African Grain Trade Summit in Mombasa on October 1-3, 2013. Finally, the Trade Hub will disseminate the STS Handbook with simplified versions of the standards for easier application to relevant stakeholders.
EA Trade Hub, Kenya Transport Association and Safe Way Right Way discuss way forward with driver’s institute
On July 19, 2013, the East Africa Trade Hub met with Safe Way Right Way (SWRW) at the Kenya Transport Association’s (KTA) new driver’s institute. This meeting was a follow-up to an earlier meeting held at the SWRW regional headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya on July 12, 2013. The aim of the meeting was to explore ways to further build the KTA Institute’s capacity and ensure its sustainability by developing a consistent stream of clients for the Institute. Based on the meeting, the Institute plans to develop: (1) a handbook for drivers (2) a database of competent drivers (3) staffing plans (4) a training to cover light trucks (5) and a fast track for institution registration.
During the meeting, SWRW pledged to send over 7,000 of its drivers to the institute to be trained over a period of one year. These drivers would be drawn from lead firms (including their subcontractors) servicing the Northern Corridor, they include: Lafarge/Bamburi Cement, Bollore /SDV Transami, DHL, DT Dobie, East African Breweries Limited, TOTAL, Finlays, Roy, Transmotors and Roy Haulers. This agreement is on condition that the existing capacity of the institute is ramped up. If this business is secured, it would guarantee the institute a turnover of over $ 500,000 in one year.