For developing countries, economic growth through increases in trade is the fastest way to reduce poverty. In the East African Community, this requires improving competitiveness of exports at national and regional level, particularly since the EAC market must operate in a globalised world.
Competitive, safe, reliable, and cost-effective goods and services are key to enhancing an industry’s competitiveness and export market share in tradable goods and services. Market participants must take full advantage of competitive markets open to trade and investment.
Quality and productivity improvements are required to enhance the competitiveness of enterprises, and their ability to access global supply chains and networks.
Nathan was commissioned by TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) to improve competition and trade as engines of pro-poor growth in the EAC through the Trademark East Africa Challenge Fund (TRAC).
TRAC was a $7 million fund designed to challenge businesses, private sector organisations, and civil society organisations from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and Rwanda to develop innovative ideas aimed at promoting cross-border trade in East Africa.
Firms and civil society organisations could submit projects for matching co-funding in three main areas: business innovation that increases trade; innovation in services that enables cross-border trade; and innovative ways of gathering evidence and mobilising public opinion.
TRAC has a portfolio of 17 projects, ranging from advocacy to innovative access to finance. Emerging results indicate that the introduction of new techniques (such as smartfresh, or organic farming and certification) yield extremely positive results for smallholder farmers and MSMEs.