Wednesday, 8 October 2014

TradeMark web portal to boost trade



TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), which marks its fourth year in enhancing trade and integration in the East Africa region, today unveiled a web-portal which will contain crucial information on trade and markets in the region.
The web-portal, http://www.trademarkea.com/ is a one stop shop on information in trade, markets and integration. Speaking during the unveiling ceremony, TMEA Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Frank Matsaert, noted that the communications tool, will enhance accessibility of information to all the East Africa citizens.
“For the last four years that we have been in operation, a lot has been achieved. Various projects and measures have been undertaken to improve and enhance trade in East Africa region. We have documented some of the best practices in form of case studies which we have shared on our new website,” said Matsaert.
TMEA recently in partnership with key stakeholders drawn from government agencies, private sector and interested parties kicked off a Northern Corridor Performance Dashboard - an IT system that captures live data and transmits it.
The tool captures critical information such as ship waiting time, vessel turnaround time, and cargo dwell time. This information is available for anyone to see, hence the agencies are able to pinpoint the barrier to trade. TMEA has invested US$53 million in the port corridor rehabilitation to strengthen infrastructure, improve productivity and create an enabling institutional framework.
Besides the Performance Dash Board, in partnership with Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade), a new single window system, was unveiled which documents all import/export documentation, which can be accessed by all parties.
Matsaert noted that TMEA projects are now entering a critical phase. “Working with our partners, we have made considerable progress and have achieved commendable success. A good number of projects have matured and are delivering substantial benefits for the region, and indeed for the people of East Africa,” added Matsaert.
Some of the key projects that TMEA has executed are; the construction at the Holili and Taveta One Stop Border Posts (OSPBs) at the Kenya-Tanzania border which is complete, paving the way for one stop border controls which will save both time and money for traders.
Innovative customs systems in Rwanda and Uganda are facilitating the secure transport of goods and making it easier to clear them on arrival, delivering considerable time and cost savings for the private sector.
The recent signing of the Mombasa Port Community Charter by 25 government and private sector agencies, , has already begun to strengthen the efficiency of the Mombasa Port and the Northern Corridor. The project is the tune of Ksh 4.6 billion.
Speaking during the same function, Karin Anderson, donors Programme Investment Committee Chair, lauded the TMEA for building the prosperity of East Africa through trade, by creating physical access to markets, enhancing the trade environment, and improving business competitiveness.
“ TMEA has achieved great milestones in very few years from automating import and export clearing systems, using single windows to facilitate the transit of goods through East Africa, improving the efficiency of critical government systems relevant to trade, or supporting the upgrading of ports,” noted Anderson.
According to statistics, Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) flows into East Africa surged by 15 per cent to $6.2 billion, in 2013.