East Africa Trade and Investment Hub
Boosting trade and investment in East Africa        
Monthly Newsletter - January 2016 
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 In this issue:
article1The AGOA Advantage, Malagasy Companies Prepare for Export 

Hub leads African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) workshop to educate and encourage Malagasy companies to maximize their AGOA opportunities.

On January 21, the Hub partnered with the American Chamber of Commerce to conduct an AGOA workshop for 30 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In total, nearly 80 individuals from the Malagasy private and public sector participated, including the Malagasy Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and the AGOA Presidential Advisor. The private sector was represented by the 30 SMEs, financiers, and logistical managers. Journalists from every major Malagasy media outlet reported on the event.

The workshop provided participants with practical knowledge and skills to navigate the AGOA export process and capitalize on business opportunities. SMEs asked government officials for greater resources and transparency; officials agreed and promised that a resource center was in the works. A Malagasy crafts company owner shared his experience of exporting through AGOA, from attending trade shows with the Hub to making market linkages and sending containers. "Because of the Hub and AGOA, 2015 was my U.S. year," said Jean-Marie Parthenay.

Both in presentations and through individual appointments, Hub advisors and partners coached Malagasy companies on how to improve their products to meet export standards, get American market information, and connect with buyers.

The Hub is preparing five investment-ready SMEs from across East Africa to pitch their businesses to international investors at the Corporate Council on Africa's (CCA) 10th U.S.-Africa Summit, to be held February 1 - 4 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The special session, titled 'The Vault,' offers select companies a unique opportunity to gain 20 minutes of undivided attention from institutional investors, commercial banks, investment bankers, private equity firms and venture capitalists during a series of one-on-one interactive sessions. Find out more about the summit.

The Hub has been coaching the businesses, ensuring they are ready to tackle investor-minded questions, and assisting them to prepare relevant informational. APRELLEDUANY is among the five that will pitch at the summit. Watch her talk about her luxury brand, which is designed to inspire a positive image of Africa.

article3Rwanda Public Private Dialogue on Common Market Protocol 

On January 29, the Private Sector Federation for Rwanda (PSFR) and the Hub jointly held a public-private dialogue (PPD) on the implementation of the East African Community (EAC) Common Market Protocol. The dialogue attracted nearly 80 participants, a majority of whom were CEOs and business owners from the financial services, agribusiness, telecommunications, manufacturers and professional sectors. Government officials with responsibilities affecting implementation of the common market also attended, as well as representatives from the donor community.

Business owners called for further reforms to help them employ talent across the EAC. They cited the requirement for residency permits in addition to work permits as overly burdensome.
Exporters of agricultural produce noted the lack of a regional framework for application of SPS measures in the EAC region. (The SPS Protocol is yet to be ratified all by Partner States, and several EAC Partner States do not have sufficient capacity to implement the WTO SPS agreements).

This is the fourth in a series of dialogues that the Hub has facilitated across the region. Previous events have been held in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. The dialogues provide targeted engagement with the private and public sectors, across the region, to spur reforms that will enhance regional trade and investment in line with the four freedoms spelled out in the East African Community Common Market Protocol: free movement of capital, labor, goods and services.

The Hub recently signed strategic partnership agreements with Umati Capital and Heva Fund to increase access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs). 

Umati Capital is a non-bank financial institution that leverages technology to provide invoice discounting and other forms of working capital financing to SMEs, and their corporate trading partners, in the Eastern Africa region. The MoU with Umati Capital will focus on joint initiatives to increase access to trade finance solutions for SMEs. 

The Hub also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Heva Fund, an organization that provides tailor-made financial solutions for East African-based SMEs in the creative sectors.

"The creative sector is where the creation of new cultural experiences is happening. We believe our collaboration with the Hub will contribute in increasing access to finance for producers of cultural goods and services to build high- value profitable businesses where new ideas will come to life and the potential for great profits, jobs and happy people will be found," 
said Heva Fund Managing Partner George Gachara.
The Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) is a membership organization of East African grain stakeholders representing the three main sectors of the grain value chain, including traders,farmers and processors.The aim of EAGC is to support structured grain trade within the eastern and southern Africa region.

The Hub is partnering closely with EAGC to further its mission of promoting grain trade in the region. Last year EAGC, in partnership with the Hub, held the 6th Africa Grain Trade Summit. During the summit trade agreements for over 100,000 metric tonnes of agricultural commodities, worth close to USD $70,000, were signed.

article6Our AGOA Hotline is LIVE!
The Hub has launched an SMS Hotline for SMEs seeking information about AGOA. Through the service, SMEs can get information about AGOA benefits, product eligibility, market linkages, export procedures, customs requirements and the U.S. market. 

SMS +254-780-200 550 to ask a question.

The service complements our 'Ask and AGOA Expert' web resource.

article6.5A Guide to Kenya's AGOA Export Process

Looking to export textile/apparel to the U.S. through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)? Here's a step by step process for navigating the AGOA visa application and export process in Kenya. Visit our knowledge center for more helpful documents.

article7.5Ethiopian Textile Companies Connect to International Buyers at Heimtextil Trade Show

From January 12 - 15, the Hub participated in the Heimtextil trade show in Frankfurt, Germany. Four Ethiopian textile companies exhibited, Bahir Dar, MNS, Almeda Textiles and Kombolcha.  An Italian buyer has already been in touch with the Hub with a request for samples from the Ethiopian companies.

"This was our first time participating in Heimtextil, which is the leading trade show for the home textiles sector. Under AGOA, there are excellent opportunities for exporters of so called "made ups" - bed linens, sheets, etc. - to complement traditional apparel.  This is particularly true in Ethiopia.  Heimtextil was an ideal platform given the specific market focus and presence of a large number of U.S. buyers seeking to source home textile products," said the Hub's Trade Promotion and AGOA Director Finn Holm-Olsen.

Heimtextil is the biggest international trade fair for home and contract textiles and the global benchmark for quality textiles of design and innovative functionality.  The trade show exposed East African producers to worldwide buyers, including from the U.S., under AGOA.

How well do you know the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub?

Learn about our vision and our work in this short introductory video by the Hub.

Watch the video.
The East Africa Trade and Investment Hub supports two U.S. presidential initiatives:

Trade Africa
is a partnership between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa to increase internal and regional trade within Africa, and expand trade and economic ties among Africa, the United States, and other global markets.

Feed the Future
strives to increase agricultural production and the incomes of both men and women in rural areas who rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. Investments in inclusive agriculture-led growth encompass improving agricultural productivity, expanding markets and trade, and increasing the economic resilience of vulnerable rural communities.
The author's views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Agency for International Development or the United States Government.
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