10/07/2019 – Today, TradeMark East Africa and the Danish Government have signed the Development Engagement Document/ MOU. The Government of Denmark is supporting Government of Uganda through TradeMark East Africa to a tune of DKK 60 million (approximately USD 9million) over the four-year period from 2019 to 2022.
The Head of Mission of the Danish Embassy, Majbrit Holm Jakobsen signed on behalf of the Danish Government, while TMEA was represented by the Chief Technical Officer, Allen Asiimwe and the Country Director, Moses Sabiiti.
The Head of Mission of the Danish Embassy, Majbrit Holm Jakobsen noted: “We have signed an agreement between DANIDA and TradeMark East Africa Uganda Programme. We are here to support the strategic plan for TradeMark so that they can continue doing the very good work that they have been doing in terms of making it easier to trade across borders in East Africa. DANIDA has been a long-time partner of TradeMark. We have worked with them for the last almost 10 years and have been very impressed with the results that they have been able to achieve over the years.”
This engagement will support increased trade through removal of barriers and improvement of markets with focus on 1) Improved trading standards and reduced non-tariff barriers (NTB), 2) improved and more transparent trade processes and systems, and 3) improved trade regulatory environment.
“Enhancing the collective power of women traders through associations, clusters and sectors is one of the biggest aspects of our (TradeMark EA) phase two because it makes it easier to interact with them plus connecting and linking them to the wider world. The only way of connecting them is through aggregations, through logistics centres like the one the TradeMark Uganda Programme is working on – Gulu Logistics Hub,” Allen Asiimwe, the TradeMark East Africa Chief Technical Officer said.
She added: “We will support women traders on market access, attaining the relevant standards, addressing the non-tariff barriers (NTBs), on ICT4Trade and many others. I believe UPSIDE (Uganda Program for Sustainable and Inclusive Development of the Economy) will enable us do that.”
Further, TMEA Country Director for Uganda and South Sudan: ‘’ Grateful to the Danish Government that funded the implementation of the Uganda National Single Window to the tune of USD 9Million. This support has already led to positive improvement in Uganda’s doing business rating. TMEA is working with Government Ministries Departments and Agencies and the private sector to ensure that the second phase of the Uganda Single Window leads to substantial reduction in time to import and export. The additional support of DKK 60 million will be utilised to support cross border trade, improved standards for key sectors that is expected to lead to more exports and more jobs created. TMEA is working closely with key leaders in Government and the private sector to ensure that the funded interventions are replicates and sustained’’
In Strategy 2, TMEA seeks to deepen engagement with borderland communities with the key aim of thinning borders so as to increase access to Markets. TMEA will take a two-pronged approach- build upon ongoing infrastructure work such as the One Stop Border Posts (e.g. Busia, Elegu, Mutukula) to address key trading challenges faced by both formal and informal cross border traders. This will not only cement Uganda’s position as a regional logistics hub for both informal and formal trade but will also further consolidate gains in increasing ease of doing business in Uganda.”
Cross border trade (CBT) is important in diversifying Uganda’s exports. Uganda’s cross border exports, account for between 25% and 35% of total exports. The informal cross-border export earnings in the Financial Year 2017/18 were estimated at US$ 595.51 million, representing 17.08% of Uganda’s exports. The main informal commodities included beans, maize, sugar, other grains, bananas, fish, among others.
DR Congo was the main informal partner of the country with total informal export trade amounting to US$ 291.48 million in 2017/18. It was followed by Kenya at US$ 149.94 million; Rwanda at US$19million.
Despite having a steadily improving trade environment, Uganda still faces some constraints in cross border trade. These include:
- The lack of appropriate infrastructure;
- Non-tariff barriers to trade and costly trading standards;
- Gaps in transparent trade processes and systems;
- A sub-optimal regulatory environment;
- Limited export capability;
- Exclusion of women and small businesses; and
- Uncoordinated support to CBT.
This engagement will support increased trade through removal of barriers and improvement of markets with focus on:
- Improved trading standards and reduced non-tariff barriers (NTB),
- Improved and more transparent trade processes and systems,
- Simplification of border processes and documentation for informal traders,
- Enabling SMES access regional and international markets
- Improved private sector led advocacy for trade
- Implement e-Commerce platforms and
- Improved trade regulatory environment.
The support from DANIDA builds on a number of interventions implemented by Government of Uganda through TradeMark East Africa including:
- Construction and operationalisation of the 4 One Stop Border Posts at Busia OSBP, Mutukula OSBP, Mirama Hills OSBP and Elegu OSBP;
- Upgrading customs management systems to improve the trade environment;
- Implementation of the Uganda National Single Window.
- Improving standards and elimination of NTBs;
- Government of Uganda through Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives and TradeMark East Africa launched the Uganda Cross Border Strategy in 2017 that seeks to create simple procedures for small cross border traders and avail key trade information to this segment of traders;
- Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives signed off the Cross-Border Trade at Mirama Hills One Stop Border Post and Mutukula One Stop Border Post. The Charter basically highlights the rights and obligations of border official and its users, including informal traders.