The 2018 East African Trade Development Forum was hosted at Munyonyo Speke Resort from 28th February to 1st March. Here is the full speech by Hon. Amelia Kyambadde (MP), the Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Trade is one of the major pillars in the East African Integration process. Considerable progress has been made in the EAC economic integration agenda. The establishment of the EAC Customs Union and the subsequent Common Market and Monetary Union that will come into force in 2023 are major milestones towards a fully-fledged EAC Economic integration.
Along with other initiatives, EAC Partner States have prioritized infrastructure development in order to promote trade.
EAC recorded a 19.5 percent decline in trade to US$44.6 billion in 2016 from US$55.4 billion in 2015. Overall, total EAC trade was meager and accounted for only 0.3 percent of global trade in 2016.
Uganda’s Trade with EAC.
The EAC is Uganda’s second export destination. Currently, Uganda’s exports to EAC are valued at $711.3m and these are mainly coffee, tea and spices, cereals, tobacco, sugar, iron and steel with Kenya as Uganda’s number one export destination within EAC. Uganda’s imports from EAC are valued at $530mare these are mainly salt, sulphur, lime and cement, iron and steel.
Trade Facilitation in EAC.
Trade facilitation is critical to the enhancement of competitiveness in the EAC region. Between 2010 and 2017, EAC government Ministries, Agencies and Departments, and Private Sector stakeholders have made significant efficiency gains in the management of Ports and Borders. For example, Mombasa Port has seen a 52% reduction in import time and 59% reduction in export time. Similarly, Dar-es- Salaam Port has seen a 28% reduction in import time and 53% reduction in export time. There has been on average a decline of 50% in the time it takes to cross borders.
The key enablers have been better trade infrastructure – both hard (roads, ports, one stop border posts), and soft (ICT for trade especially electronic single trade portals and cargo tracking); institutional building (modernization of customs and revenue authorities); and private sector engagement.
TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) and, her partners have played an important role in these achievements and valuable lessons have been learnt.
Trade Facilitation Initiatives through TMEA.
Between 2010 and 2017, significant efficiency gains have been achieved at the ports and borders, and by revenue authorities in clearance of cargo, as well as agencies and firms involved in trade statistics through the following initiatives;
- Establishment of the Electronic Single Window.
The system has so far integrated 8 trade regulatory agencies with plans to have a total of 22 agencies interconnected by the end of 2018.
One Stop Border Posts(OSBPs).
Three (3) OSBPs have been constructed and completed; these include;
- Mutukula OSBP with Tanzania,
- Busia OSBP with Kenya, and
- Mirama Hills OSBP and Ntungamo – Mutukula Road
All the border posts are operating under one stop controls which means that a transporter or traveller clears only once, on one side of the border.
With the construction of the OSBPs, there has been an average reduction in border crossing time of at-least 50%.
- Reduction of NTBs through the NTB Reporting System.
With support from TMEA, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives is implementing a web based Non-Tariff Barrier Reporting System which facilitates the reporting and resolution of NTBs among trade facilitating institutions. As a result over 86% of all NTBs reported through the system have been resolved. This,, in turn, has reduced on the delays and costs of moving goods in and outside of Uganda across trading member states.
- The Trade Information Portal.
Government with support from TMEA is in the final stages of developing a One Stop Portal for export, import and transit information in Uganda.
It is an online platform where all the information regarding export, import and transit of goods in Uganda will be availed to traders, government agencies and all interested parties. The portal will provide the traders with all the necessary information to enable them undertake the transaction on Electronic Single Window. The two platforms are therefore complementary.
- Support to Women Cross Border traders.
Uganda’s comprehensive Cross Border Trade Strategy was commissioned in 2017 with support from TMEA. The strategy aims at simplifying trade processes for informal traders especially the women and youth. Digitization will be a key intervention too for the implementation of the strategy to promote inclusiveness
THE EAST AFRICAN TRADE DEVELOPMENT FORUM.
Against the above milestones in trade facilitation, TradeMark East Africa in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives has organized the organized a biennial forum for its partners, stakeholders and the trade development community to review, reflect and exchange ideas on progress TMEA and its partners are making in trade facilitation in East Africa.
The initiative that was initiated in the year 2010 will be held from Wednesday 28th February to Thursday 1st March 2018 at Speke Resort Munyonyo and the Vice President will be the Guest of Honor.
The objective of the East African Trade Development Forum is to showcase the exciting results we have achieved with our partners during our Strategy One (2010-2017), share lessons learnt, and discuss Strategy 2 (2018-2024).
The forum will provide an opportunity to share with a wide regional and international audience TMEA’s partners’ results achieved during the last seven years. The event will recognize the many exceptional partnerships that have contributed to the successful results achieved together and focus on sharing knowledge and learning on what has worked and the challenges.
Objectives of the forum.
The objectives of the East African Trade Development Forum include;
- To showcase the tremendous results TMEA and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives and our partners have achieved during the past 7 years of the TMEA Strategy One (2010-2017)
- Share the lessons learnt during the implementation of TMEA Strategy One
- Discuss TMEA Strategy 2 for the next 6 years (2018-2024)
- Establishment of vibrant permanent platforms for sharing knowledge and experience amongst partners over the next six years.
Forum Format and participants.
The Forum format will be high-level, interactive and participative. We will combine a mix of experiential, plenary and breakout sessions spread over the two days. The experiential sessions will include a ‘Wall of Trade’ depicting EAC trade Corridors, real-time cargo tracking; and women-in-trade live exhibits. Break-out session topics will cover areas of trade facilitation such as information and communication technology for trade; trade logistics; trade infrastructure, logistics and transport corridors; industrialization and jobs through cluster development; women in cross-border trade, and new ways of funding trade development.
The Forum will aim to establish vibrant permanent platforms for sharing knowledge and experience amongst partners over the next six years.
Partners and participants will be drawn from both our regional and international trade development communities. The forum will be graced by H.E. Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, the Vice President of the Republic of Uganda as the Chief Guest. Key speakers will include Ali Mufuruki our Board Chair, Development Ministers and distinguished speakers from trade facilitation and Aid for Trade fields.
The trade development community is therefore cordially called upon to embrace the forum which will deliberate on issues that directly impact on trade in the East African Region.
Hon. Amelia Kyambadde (MP)
Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives.