TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) has continued to show great progress this year. Several key results have been achieved with our partners. The overall programme has matured and many results have begun to be visible and are impacting positively on the lives of millions of East Africans. This is against a backdrop of sustained economic growth in the East Africa Community member states, a region expected to continue as the continent’s most economically attractive. This is attributed to robust investment in economic reforms as well as resilience to global economic slowdown.
TradeMark East Africa has raised almost US$750 million to invest in projects from its development partners including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. I’m proud to say that makes TMEA the biggest aid for trade project anywhere in the world.
The results are truly impressive. TMEA’s support for the modernisation of ports in Mombasa and Dar, and its one-stop border posts, are transforming trade and driving integration across the region. The time it takes to move goods from Mombasa to Kampala has been halved, to six days. A container now moves through the port of Mombasa in less than four days – it took more than 15 only a few years ago. We have raised significant funding to develop the port in Dar es Salaam. And by the end of next year, the programme will have helped increase East Africa’s exports by at least 10%.
There have, however, been some challenges to our programme implementation with regards to security in Burundi and South Sudan, which has slowed down implementation. We are closely monitoring the situation and hope for stability in the two nations.
Our management restructuring that took place last year worked well by creating a serious technical team. This has ensured we achieved a sharper focus in the quality of our programming, as evidenced by the positive ranking achieved on the independent evaluation of our programmes.
Following on from last year, we have strengthened the TMEA governance structure with the appointment of a team of highly qualified professionals to the Board of Directors. These individuals bring a wealth of experience in various sectors including the private sector, government and non-profit. This wealth of experience is a major asset for TMEA. Our investors have also formed the new TMEA council to support our work.
Confirmation was received of TMEA’s international accreditation by the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply. TMEA is only the second organisation in Africa to receive this prestigious accolade, and the first in East Africa. This highlights our commitment to high levels of procurement transparency, efficiency and fairness, and our belief in continual self-improvement.
TMEA is in a transition phase with the completion of projects under its first phase. In Strategy 2, we aim to use our knowledge in understanding and managing complex projects and rigorous focus on value for money for our investors. Strategy 2 has been built on partnership and trust that we have cultivated over the last six years. We will aim to contribute to increased trade by reducing trade barriers and enhancing private sector markets. Strategy 2 is also putting women at the centre of TMEA’s focus. The Board has full confidence that TMEA’s focus in Strategy 2, its leadership and staff will enable the organisation to sustain its high performance.
I’d like to recognise here the huge efforts of TMEA’s many excellent partner organisations through which it works, and also TMEA’s employees and leadership across the whole organisation.
We continue to strive for excellence - to ensure the best opportunities for businesses in East Africa to create wealth, jobs and to eliminate poverty - whilst providing the best possible value for money to our investors.
On behalf of the Board, I thank our investors warmly for their strong on-going support. I also would like to thank in a very special way, the Governments of East Africa, the EAC Secretariat and private sector and civil society who have proved to be excellent and motivated partners of TMEA since its inception. The success we are celebrating this year would not be possible without their active support and engagement.
We look forward to continued success in 2016.