The Government of Denmark has signed twin Financial Agreements worth USD 17.5 million to support the fight against COVID-19 and support Kenya’s Green Trade efforts.
The first USD 14.5 Million will support Kenya’s efforts to transition to Green Trade and creating sustainable jobs under the Denmark and Kenya Strategic Framework for 2021 to 2025.
The second agreement of $3 million (Approx. Kes 330,000,000) will support continued response to COVID-19 under TradeMark East Africa’s Safe Trade Emergency Facility (Safe Trade) Programme.
With the green trade funding (USD 14.5 million), TMEA will partner with government institutions and private sector in adopting sustainable and efficient transport and infrastructure for reduced barriers to trade, improving trading standards and sanitary and phytosanitary issues and improving business competitiveness in Kenya.
Denmark has already been funding programmes in Kenya including, support to non-motorised transport in the ongoing construction of Mbaraki Road, in Mombasa to include construction of storm water drainage facilities for climate change adaptation, installation of street lighting, construction of foot paths, walkways, and access ramps to enhance movement and safety of people living with disabilities. This new funding will be used to complete those projects.
In automation, Denmark’s funding will ensure that government agencies in partnership with TMEA ramp up digitisation efforts of key trade processes to reduce use of paper and time taken to trade. For example, East Africa Tea Trade Association (EATTA) completed and started use of the Integrated Tea Trade System thus automating Mombasa Tea Auction, the second largest black tea auction in the world. As a result, tea producers from 10 countries in Eastern African can now offer their teas electronically from their countries (without need to travel or congregating at the auction floor); and all documentation for teas sold through the auction is now paperless.
The automated system, which will officially be launched later this year, enables the tea sector to achieve efficiency positioning it as a competitive auction and will reduce the tea trading cycle by about 65 percent from the current 45 to 60 days to less than a month.
Denmark’s support to TMEA’s Safe Trade is being implemented in 10countries to provide essential services at the key entry and exit points while keeping front line border workers safe. Safe Trade has ensured collaboration to combat COVID-19 through provision of platform for COVID- 19 response by public and private partners, partnering with the EAC in leading the regional dialogues and policy interventions, provision of protective equipment, supporting roll-out and uptake of the Regional
Electronic Cargo and Driver Tracking System (RECDTS), construction of safe trade zones for women traders across various borders.
Making his remarks at the event, Denmark Ambassador to Kenya H.E Thonke said: “TradeMark East Africa falls under The Denmark-Kenya Sustainable Jobs and Trade thematic focus area whose objective is Green transformation and climate change adaptation, income opportunities and decent jobs, business competitiveness, trade and investments. Under these intervention areas, activities will be implemented around trade facilitation, value chains, renewable and non-renewable energy, investment in natural capital, resource efficiency and cleaner technology, climate change mitigation and adaptation, competitiveness, productivity, advocacy, and market access.’
PS Kevit Desai appreciated Denmark’s continued support to Kenya’s Green Growth programme and the continued fight against the Pandemic.
He said, “The Government of Kenya welcomes and appreciates the partnership and support of Denmark to the Kenya Country Programme and to the Safe Trade Emergency Facility through TradeMark East Africa. The TMEA Kenya Country Programme has facilitated interventions to reduce transport time and increase import and export volumes in Kenya. This has directly contributed to Kenya’s consistent improvement in the trading across borders. Denmark’s investments through TMEA towards green and inclusive growth contribute to ensuring trade in Kenya is green, resilient, and sustainable. This support also contributes to Kenya’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development goals and the Paris Agreement.”
TMEA’s Board Chair, Amb. Erastus Mwencha said, “The resolve for promoting inclusive economic growth is greater now as it has always been as COVID-19 pandemic has thrust most economies in the region and the world into a recession. For us to recover and build resilience, we must solidify our partnerships. TMEA’s success is directly attributable to the robust partnerships established over time with the Government of Kenya and donors such as Denmark. We are keen to support initiatives that will restart the economy and adapt value chains fit for a post COVID-19 world. Including seizing opportunities for local production and export growth.”
TMEA CEO Frank Matsaert forecasted the organisation expansion plan and its commitment to support regional integration and trade within Africa. TMEA has contributed to reducing transport time of key corridors by above 16% in the East African Community and a 70% fall in cargo dwell times at one-stop border posts during between 2014 and 2019.