Read about the key activities the Trade Hub has participated in.

February 5 Highlights

February 13, 2013, 4:31 pm

Featuring an interview with Paul Brenton, the World Bank’s Trade Practice Manager for Africa, and a review of the success of the USAID Trade Hub’s access to finance strategy, the USAID Trade Hub’s monthly newsletter, Tradewinds, was delivered to more than 12,000 subscribers.

Six importers—members of the AfricaNow! network—represented products from USAID Trade Hub-assisted handcrafts producers at the New York International Gift Fair, presenting products from Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali and Senegal to thousands of professional buyers. NYIGF is the largest gift trade show in the US, attracting 35,000 buyers from across the globe. Swahili Imports, Eco Brazil, Tribalinks, Mbarre, Bamboula and Global Mamas participated at the show.

A U.S. investor will be one of the first companies to distribute 100% traceable shea from three suppliers in Burkina Faso, after learning about opportunities in the shea sector from the USAID Trade Hub. P2P distributors has a 20,000-square-foot warehouse and has hired two staff to manage the inventory and shipments. This will open the market to smaller retailers and manufacturers who are unable to source directly, and still allow them to connect with their suppliers on the ground and share their story with their customers.

More than 100 company managers in Sierra Leone participated in a USAID Trade Hub-sponsored workshop on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in Freetown. The Sierra Leone Chamber of Commerce and the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) co-sponsored the event. The workshop focused on export readiness, access to finance, packaging and developing an export strategy.

A new cashew processor in Nigeria has signed on to obtain the African Cashew Alliance’s Quality and Sustainability Seal, the first in the country to do so. The ACA’s assistance has helped the company improve operations and directly created 130 jobs in Ilorin (North Central Nigeria). The company expects to add new jobs in 2013 as it expands.

More than 200 cashew farmers, processors and traders developed an action plan for the Nigerian cashew industry focused on improving quality, promoting cashew processing and growing the cashew crop during the Nigerian Cashew Stakeholders Forum in Abuja. The African Cashew Alliance President Georgette Taraf and Managing Director Christian Dahm attended the forum and advised stakeholders. The ACA will assist stakeholders in implementing the plan.

Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture cited the USAID Trade Hub’s multiplier effect study ( in remarks about alleviating poverty at the National Cashew Stakeholder Forum in Abuja. The study showed that the sale of $1,000 worth of raw cashew nuts leads to $1,430 in additional household income in a community – but the effect is nearly doubled when the raw cashew nuts are sold for local processing. Nigeria could generate more than $15 million in additional income for rural communities and create more than 12,000 new jobs if it processed 50% of its crop in Nigeria, the study showed.

Borderless: Transport
About 100 people, including 20 women, participated in the formal release of the Truck Drivers Guide to Senegal, including representatives of the Ministry of Transport, the Chamber of Commerce, Customs, Police, Gendarmerie, ECOWAS Brown Card, Transporters and Drivers Union from Senegal.  The USAID Trade Hub prepared the guide with input from stakeholders; it is the fourth guide to be published, joining those covering the rules of the road in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali and Togo. 
91 transport and trade stakeholders in Burkina Faso participated in the first of a series of workshops on road governance that are taking place Jan. 30 to Feb. 8. Representatives of the customs, police and gendarmerie services joined with transporters and private sector stakeholders on the first day of the “Borderless Caravan,” which was held in Niangoloko. The USAID Trade Hub organized the caravan in collaboration with the Conseil Burkinabe des Chargeurs (CBC) and the Burkina Faso National Facilitation Committee Coordinating Authority (DGTTM).

The number of checkpoints where legal transit trucks are stopped has fallen from 190 in 2006 to 158 in the third quarter of 2012 across the countries participating in the USAID-UEMOA road governance initiative, a USAID Trade Hub review shows. The drop is reflective of a broad improvement in road governance: Delays have dropped by an average of 35% in the countries and bribes have dropped by an average of 61%. The initiative was launched in 2006 in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali and Togo; in 2009, Senegal joined the initiative and in 2010 Côte d’Ivoire joined. Ghana showed the greatest drop in bribes – a decline of 74%; Côte d’Ivoire saw the biggest drop in delays, a 64% drop. In real numbers, in 2006, drivers in Ghana paid about $4 per 100 km in bribes; today they pay about $1 per 100 km. In Côte d’Ivoire, trucks were delayed about 24 minutes per 100 km in 2010; today they experience delays of 9 minutes per 100 km.

Borderless: Business Environment
The Police Commissioner in Krake, Benin, removed all illegal checkpoints on the Benin side of the Benin-Nigeria border after a meeting facilitated by the new Benin-Nigeria Border Information Center, which opened in December 2012 with support from the USAID Trade Hub and the USAID Business Environment for Agile Markets. The meeting included the Commissioner, the Krake Customs Commissioner, the Manager of the truck parking facility, the Benin Shippers’ Council, the Chief of Krake Village, a representative of the king and the BIC Trade Advisor.

The Port of Abidjan and Scanning Systems, stakeholders in Côte d’Ivoire, are co-sponsoring the second annual Borderless Alliance conference, Feb. 21-22 in Accra, Ghana. The companies, which made the commitments in meetings with the USAID Trade Hub in Abidjan, join Ecobank, Bolloré Africa Logistics, Patterson Simon, the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, NEXIM Bank, Tarzan Enterprises and the Corporate Council on Africa as sponsors.

Hundreds of transport and trade facilitation stakeholders are expected in Accra, Ghana, at the Borderless Alliance’s second annual conference. “Borderless 2013: Connecting Markets,” is supported by the USAID Trade Hub, the USAID Business Environment for Agile Markets (BEAM) project and several private sector entities.

January 9 Highlights

January 18, 2013, 3:12 pm

The Global Shea Alliance has released a draft of its sustainability strategy for the shea industry as it prepares for the sixth industry annual conference March 4-6 in Abuja, Nigeria. The conference has already surpassed $100,000 in sponsorship support. The strategy places women’s livelihoods as its central focus and is available online at

7 international buyers will meet handcrafts producers in Côte d’Ivoire in a visit organized by the USAID Trade Hub in collaboration with Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Trade and Industry and supported by the USAID Business Environments for Agile Markets (BEAM) project.

Gafreh, a handcrafts producer in Burkina Faso, has been added to the AfricaNow! company showcase, which now includes over 40 producers across the region ( The company showcase has raised the visibility of products from West Africa among international buyers, leading to several inquiries from buyers around the world. The AfricaNow! brand and network connects professional producers to international buyers to establish confidence in sourcing products in West Africa. The network also includes the transport and logistics specialists at the USAID Trade Hub, marketing consultants and USAID Trade Hub finance experts.

More than 35 financiers in Burkina Faso and Niger participated in access to finance workshops conducted by USAID Trade Hub finance experts with support from the USAID Business Environments for Agile Markets (BEAM) project and involving the AGOA Resource Centers in both countries. Participants on the supply side included banks, guarantee funds, savings and loan groups, venture funds and institutional players such as national investment agencies and central bank representatives On the demand side, export-ready companies working in USAID Trade Hub-supported sectors participated. In both countries, the Ecobank managers working with the USAID DCA participated in the workshop and individual discussions.

Borderless: Transport
Despite a decrease in the number of checkpoints in Mali, the country continues to have the worst levels of delays and bribery among the six countries that are part of the joint USAID-UEMOA road governance initiative launched in 2006. The draft of the 21st report on checkpoints, bribes and delays also shows that checkpoints eliminated in Côte d’Ivoire have been re-erected and bribery in Burkina Faso increased, while, more positively, checkpoints eliminated last year in Togo have remained eliminated and the number of checkpoints in Ghana has dropped.

Borderless: Business Environment
26 people representing major trading companies, transport and logistics service providers and government agencies in Burkina Faso participated in the launch of the Borderless Alliance national chapter in Ouagadougou. Nestle, DELMAS, Bollore Africa Logistics, COTECNA, Ets Mamounata Velegda, COFENABVI and CMA-CGM were among the private sector companies represented while the Burkina Shippers’ Council, the Burkina Faso Chamber of Commerce, APEX-Burkina, the Ministry of Transport, and the primary drivers’ union represented the public sector.

November 13 Highlights

November 19, 2012, 3:29 pm

A new cashew processor in Togo has hired 400 local employees and expects to double its processing capacity three-fold within the next year with support from the African Cashew Alliance. The ACA’s business advisor worked with the company’s managers, assessing its operations and providing guidance to increase productivity.

A U.S. buyer ordered thousands of recycled glass beads from a producer in Ghana during visits facilitated by the USAID Trade Hub. The buyer is using the beads to make home décor pieces that will feature in a high-end retail outlet in the U.S.

Borderless: Transport
Delays and bribery at checkpoints operated by the customs service in Burkina Faso have declined significantly, according to the 20th report on checkpoints, bribes and delays published by UEMOA with support from the USAID Trade Hub. The report, now in draft form, will be published later this month. Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Togo had similarly positive news for stakeholders while results from Ghana and Mali were disappointing: delays increased in Ghana and Mali continues to lead the region in bribery.

Borderless: Business Environment
150 stakeholders at the second annual Logistics West Africa conference in Lagos, Nigeria, learned about the Borderless campaign and Borderless Alliance to increase trade in West Africa. The Borderless Alliance President presented the Alliance’s vision to participants and the USAID Business Environment Director and Borderless Alliance Managing Director moderated roundtable discussions at the event.

70 business executives in Nigeria participated in a CEOs’ dinner organized by the Borderless Alliance with support from the USAID Trade Hub. The event included senior managers at GMT Nigeria Limited, Energy Blocks, Fortune Global Shipping & Logistics Limited, Professional Shipping & Logistics Limited, Stratfield, DHL Global Forwarding, Avient, Flash Limited, Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL) and MGM Logistics Solutions.

44 stakeholders in Benin participated in the launch of the Borderless Alliance National Committee, including the Minister of Industries, Commerce and SMEs Madame Onifade Baba, Moussa Onifade and USAID Benin Mission Director Kevin Armstrong.

The Conseil Beninois des Chargeurs has formally agreed to partner with the USAID Trade Hub on a Border Information Center at the Benin-Nigeria border. The CBC will host the center in Kraké on the Benin side of the border. The Nigerian Shippers’ Council will host the center in Semé, on the Nigeria side of the border.

August 28 Highlights

August 29, 2012, 8:04 pm

The Trade Hub’s monthly newsletter, Tradewinds ( published this week focuses on the Salon International de l’Artisanat de Ouagadougou (SIAO) in October and includes a review of the Border Information Center on its first anniversary and a report on the Shea Quality Improvement Program launched by the Global Shea Alliance in June. A video interview of Inoussa Dao of Centre Lukare, a Trade Hub-assisted handcrafts exporter in Burkina Faso, and a video about the shea training workshops are also featured.

More than 6,000 rural women collectors in Benin and Ghana learned best practices in sheanut collection and processing during workshops facilitated by the Global Shea Alliance. The GSA also forged market linkages between these women and four international shea nut purchasers. Buyers have said they will pay higher prices for better quality sheanuts. The USAID Trade Hub co-founded the GSA with over 50 stakeholders in 2011 and it now includes over 150 members.

The Director General and the Marketing Director of the Salon International de l’Artisanat de Ouagadougou (SIAO) met 6 international buyers of African handcrafts in meetings facilitated by the USAID Trade Hub at the New York International Gift Fair in New York City. SIAO is the world’s largest African handcrafts event and this year takes place Oct. 26 to Nov. 4.

The USAID Trade Hub has formally opened online registration for the AfricaNow!-SIAO 2012 Handcrafts Exporter Training Workshop, Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 at the 2012 edition of the Salon International de l’Artisanat de Ouagadougou. The USAID Trade Hub and SIOA have collaborated on handcrafts export workshops at SIAO, a biennial event, since 2006. Online registration is open at

USAID Trade Hub Home Décor and Fashion Accessories Advisor Elaine Bellezza presented on exporting handcrafts from West Africa at the Africa Chic Symposium at Tendence International Trade Fair in Frankfurt, Germany. The symposium, Premuim Quality, Sourcing Made in Africa covered topics ranging from fashion to export to customs regulations.

ARECA (Autorité de Regulation du Coton et de l’Anacarde), a regulatory agency for the cotton and cashew industries in Cote d’Ivoire, is the latest organization to sponsor the 7th ACA Annual Conference in Cotonou, Benin, September 17-20.  More than 300 stakeholders have registered for the event, and six exhibitors are confirmed for the World Cashew Expo12. ARECA joins four other organizations confirmed as Gold Sponsors of the event.

Shea Radiance, a member of the Global Shea Alliance, launched its products at Target stores across the United States. Target is America’s second largest retailer with almost 2,000 stores and sales over $65 billion annually.

Borderless: Business Environment
Removing trade barriers across West Africa would make the moving of livestock more efficient and less costly, participants at the Livestock-Climate Change Collaborative Research Support Program learned during the program’s two-day workshop in Dakar, Senegal. The USAID Trade Hub’s Dakar office presented the joint UEMOA-USAID data and analysis of the Improve Road Transport Governance initiative. Long delays in the movement of goods is particularly impactful on the hauling of livestock, with dozens of animals often dying en route when exposed to heat and other natural elements.

August 15 Highlights

August 28, 2012, 6:06 pm

USAID Trade Hub Business and Finance Director Roger Brou and Specialty Food Advisor Makhtar Thiam visited 13 Burkinabe specialty food companies to assist Burkina Faso’s Chamber of Commerce in selecting companies to participate in the upcoming Natural Products Expo East, Sept. 19-22, 2012 in Baltimore. The team was assisted by the AGOA Resource Center coordinator and addressed issues pertaining to product selection, packaging and labeling, food safety, and U.S. food regulation requirements.

USAID Trade Hub assistance has helped five handcrafts exporting companies in Ghana by improving their use of ICT, expanding their links to market, helping them develop new products and improving their access to finance, the companies told a USAID West Africa delegation facilitated by the USAID Trade Hub.

Abuja, Nigeria, will host the sixth annual international shea conference, the Global Shea Alliance announced. The Alliance reviewed proposals from across West Africa. The conference was held in Nigeria last in 2006. It was held in Ouagadougou, Bamako, Accra and Cotonou from 2009 to 2012, respectively. Nigeria exports about 50,000 shea equivalent tons of sheanuts annually.

The USAID Trade Hub and the Salon International de l’Artisanat de Ouagadougou (SIAO), West Africa’s largest handcrafts event, are collaborating to present a three-day training workshop for exporters during SIAO 2012, which runs Oct. 26 to Nov. 4 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Borderless: Business Environment
The Nigerian Shippers’ Council will host a Border Information Center at the Benin-Nigeria border, the Council announced after a meeting with the USAID Trade Hub in Abuja. USAID Nigeria and the Nigerian Customs Service also expressed support for the initiative, which is modeled on the first BIC launched in August 2011 at the Ghana-Togo border.

Burkina Faso’s Customs Service are welcoming the arrival of a Border Information Center at the Burkina Faso-Ghana border, which they said could assist in ensuring that agents of transit services understand the rules of moving goods and vehicles across the border. The comments came during the USAID Trade Hub team’s meetings with officials on both sides of the border. A BIC is scheduled to open in late September.

As a result of the NEXIM Ecobank MOU facilitated by the African Cashew Alliance in March, a Nigerian cashew processor received its first disbursement in the form of a bridge loan from Ecobank. The funding is a part of US$2 million in financing for the Nigerian Cashew Cluster Finance Scheme (NCCFS), which the MOU established. The ACA, the USAID Trade Hub, and African Investors Management Services Ltd (AIMS) signed the MOU. The loan is the first from a development bank and a commercial bank operating under a shared collateral management scheme, marking new institutional support for the cashew export sector. This new model will significantly improve opportunities for export processors seeking access to finance.

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