TradeMark Africa(TMA), Tony Blair Institute (TBI), and catalytic fund Trade Catalyst, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to closely collaborate in trade facilitation and trade finance in order to grow trade across Africa.
The three organizations will work closely to facilitate trade development to support the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which became effective in 2021.
The AfCFTA aims to create a continent-wide market of USD3.4 trillion and 1.3 billion people, where goods from one corner trade freely in another.
If fully implemented, the AfCFTA could lift thirty million people out of poverty by 2035 based on trade between African countries growing by more than 50 per cent.
The success of the free trade area is hinged on the removal of trade barriers across Africa. These include significant transport infrastructure gaps, cumbersome and unautomated trade processes, and differing customs regimes that delay goods moving freely.
In the partnership, TMA, TBI, and TCA will be deploying their strong expertise in trade facilitation projects, policy advice to governments, and innovative finance to help resolve these trade bottlenecks.
Past interventions by the three organisations in Africa include supporting the implementation of trade corridor efficiency programmes, delivering tech-based solutions for trade licensing and customs administration, helping governments harmonise and automate trade standards, generating holistic government trade and export promotion strategies, and facilitating trade and infrastructure finance.
Speaking at the MoU signing, TMA Chief Executive Officer David Beer welcomed the partnership as one that will create the right synergies in driving economic growth,
“At TMA we are proud of the trade facilitation that we have undertaken across the East, Horn, and Southern Africa over the last decade. We are excited to build on this through our collaboration with TBI and TCA, so that we can help realize the aspirations of AfCFTA member states, in creating a truly seamless trading environment in Africa,” said Beer.
TBI Managing Director Rishon Chimboza hailed the closer partnership as one that will support unleashing the Continent’s trade potential.
“This agreement is a very significant step that harnesses the strengths of TBI and our partners – TradeMark Africa and Trade Catalyst Africa – and catalyses common cause in growing trade and supporting implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement,” he said.
The MoU spells out the key areas of collaboration; namely: trade facilitation, standards development, support to the AFCFTA implementation, digitisation of trade processes, industrialisation, trade infrastructure and green logistics, support to cross border traders, and knowledge sharing.
The Parties will decide on a project basis to conduct joint scoping, strategic political engagement, co-investment, fundraising and proposal development, joint analysis, or any other activity beneficial for achieving a project requirement.