The African Development Bank (AfDB) is collaborating with the East African Community (EAC) Secretariat and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
They are launching a capacity development project aimed at enhancing trade in East Africa.
The $1.56M EAC Trade Portal Enhancement Project aims to support digitized trade solutions.
It also aims to reduce trade barriers and help the EAC fulfil WTO obligations.
Furthermore, It will address the lack of capacity in trade information and ICT systems, insufficient market information, poor internet connectivity, and transparency for trade and investment.
The Multilateral Cooperation Center for Development Finance funded this two-year, multi-country trade portal enhancement project.
It was launched during the EAC Donor Round Table held in Arusha, Tanzania on 6 October 2023.
Rachael Nsubuga, Senior Trade Facilitation Officer at the African Development Bank, clarified that AfDB trade facilitation programs aim to lessen barriers to international trade and enable both intra-African and external trade.
“This project will complement other programs of the African Development Bank in the region.
“It will be done by providing digitalized trade solutions and data to support investment climate and customs modernization work.”
AfDB Pioneering African Integration
The project aligns with the AfDB’’s strategic focus on African integration as outlined in its Regional Integration Strategic Paper (RISP 2023-2027).
It will also work with partners to improve and combine current digital systems for trade information and customs upgrades.
This will help share market data within and outside the region.
This will also help in Promoting EAC Single Trade System and Expanding Partnerships, Including AfCFTA and ASEAN.
The EAC Trade Portal Enhancement Project serves as a pilot that can set an example for the entire world.
While giving his remarks, the Secretary General of the East African Community Secretariat, Dr. Peter Matuki, said:
“The EAC commits to fostering trade transparency and forming partnerships for regional trade development.
“Enabling infrastructure coupled with capacity building can further bolster the region’s trade ecosystem for sustained socio-economic gains.”
The improved regional portal will be easy to use and interactive. It will have measurable online connection indicators that connect to artificial intelligence tools.
These tools will provide information to other systems, like customs and the EAC’s non-tariff barrier monitoring system.
It will link with national trade portals to offer real-time assistance in addressing non-tariff barriers and calculating trade procedure costs.”