Oliver Kazunga Senior Business Reporter
A TECHNICAL review committee of the Africa Trade Fund (AfTra) has approved funding worth more than $1,4 million for four projects aimed at supporting trade development in Africa.
AfTra is a trade-related technical assistance facility hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and was established in 2013 to provide funding for trade facilitation, building capacity for trade institutions, and development of products and markets in African countries including Zimbabwe.
“The Technical Review Committee of the AfTra at its meeting on February 13, 2015 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast approved funding worth more than $1,4 million for four projects that will support trade development in Africa.
Two of the projects that have just been approved will support value chains development in the apiculture and cashew industries.
“The first, titled “Trade and Institutional Capacity Building in the Apiculture Sector”, will be implemented by SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, Zambia. It will improve the capacity of traders, processors and producers of honey and bee products,” said AfDB in a statement.
The other value chains development project aims to support cashew industries.
“This project, by improving the product quality and market development, as well as the environmental standards and sustainability in cashew processing, offers the chance for Africans to upgrade within the cashew global value chain. It also has an added focus of targeting women who will be supported to move up the value chain — from selling crops to local traders to processing them.
The third grant was made to the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO). The project, titled “Harmonisation of African Standards for Agriculture and Food Products”, aims to provide coherent and systematic codes of practice for African food products.
AfDB said harmonising standards and codes of practice across African countries would provide a clear and predictable policy framework for regional trade so that institutions that facilitate exchange and mitigate the inherent risks associated with food production.
The fourth project, a study titled “Regional Cargo Tracking System on the Northern Corridor”, will assist the six-member countries of Northern Corridor Trade and Transit Coordination Authority — Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda to prepare for the implementation of the regional electronic cargo tracking system.
The study will also examine the required legal framework and establish other areas of policy intervention to make transit along the corridor more efficient, thereby improving intra-regional trade.
“These projects were all carefully selected to make sure that they achieve the goals of helping African countries trade better with each other and to facilitate their integration into global value chains,” it said.