Finland grants 9.8 million Euros to TradeMark East Africa to enhance trade in the region

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Finland has granted 9.8 million Euros to TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) to support its work in enhancing trade across the East African Community to increase prosperity in the region.

The agreement will advance common goals of increasing trade within East Africa by reducing the time and cost of transiting and transporting goods. The partnership will also support East African Community (EAC) regional trade integration. This grant is also expected to broaden TMEAs regional integration program at the Port of Dar es Salaam and key border posts along the Central Corridors, and will work with EAC Member States to remove barriers to trade.

The agreement was signed by the Finnish Ambassador to Kenya, H.E. Tarja Fernández and Frank Matsaert, CEO, TradeMark East Africa.

Finland’s strategy for development cooperation and action plan for aid for trade put more emphasis on the development of trade and regional economic integration. The Finnish government believes that supporting increased trade in the region in combination with assistance to the private sector will accelerate economic growth and jobs, with the ultimate goal of poverty reduction.

Finnish Ambassador to Kenya, H.E. Tarja Fernández said: “We know that the new strategy will move the region beyond the accomplishments of the past, creating job opportunities, and opening up, until now, marginalised areas to development through interventions at various nodes of East Africa Trade Network from ports to the hinterlands. That is why we are committed to supporting the second phase of TMEA’s programme.”

TMEA aims to contribute to increased trade in Eastern Africa, both increased intra-regional trade and increased trade between the region and the rest of the world. In doing so, TMEA aims to contribute to sustainable, inclusive prosperity in Eastern Africa. TMEA will contribute to increased trade by further investing in the improved trade competitiveness of the region. Improved trade competitiveness will be delivered by simultaneously reducing barriers to trade across Eastern Africa, to enable trade to flow through the region more efficiently and at reduced cost to traders, and investing in improving business competitiveness for trade so that the businesses, large, medium and small, are able to trade more.

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TMEA CEO Frank Matsaert noted the successes that the organisation has achieved during its Strategy 1 which was implemented between 2010 – 2016 with transport times for goods drastically reducing; and the EAC becoming the most integrated trade bloc in Africa with a Customs Union and Common Market Protocol. The welfare value of TMEA’s trade benefits for East Africa estimated at US$17 billion over a ten-year period, representing strong value for money for the US$ 560M invested

“Increased trade will continue to be our primary mission, through our continuing focus on improving trade competitiveness. We aim to contribute to increased trade through improvements to trade competitiveness by reducing barriers to trade and improving business competitiveness. This Strategy will contribute to an impact of US$10 billion of additional trade in East Africa by 2023” Said Mr. Matsaert.

The grant agreement will make available Euro 9.8 million (approximately Shs 1.1 billion) to support regional economic integration through TMEA over the period 2017 to 2020.