What's Happening at the USAID Trade Hub

Wednesday, December 26 2012

Nanabea Adarkwah-Agyapong

Bankers learn about USAID Trade Hub access to finance initiatives

80 finance experts discussed constraints that limit small and medium enterprises’ access to finance and learned about the USAID Trade Hub’s innovative work to improve access during a meeting organized by Ecobank Togo in Lome. The USAID Trade Hub’s work with the African Cashew Alliance, the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development and the West African Development Bank were the focus of a presentation by the USAID Trade Hub. A successful $2.4 million loan to a cashew processor in Togo, facilitated by the USAID Trade Hub, was highlighted; the company has added 100 jobs as a result of the loan, 80% of which are filled by women.

The Nigeria Cashew Cluster Finance (NCCF) scheme, an innovative effort to improve access to finance in the cashew industry, held its second annual review meeting in Lagos, Nigeria. Stakeholders, including the National Cashew Association of Nigeria (NCAN), four commercial banks, two government banks and seven cashew companies pledged to double the level of financing in 2013. In 2011, the scheme facilitated $1 million in financing for two cashew processors, generating over 150 new jobs of which over 100 were filled by women.

Shea news... More than 130 registered for Shea 2013: Global Perspectives... Alliance participates in national events... Sustainability strategy finding more support

130 shea business people from around the world have registered for “Shea 2013: Global Perspectives,” the sixth annual shea industry conference, which will take place in Abuja, Nigeria, March 4-6, 2013. The Global Shea Alliance, co-founded by the USAID Trade Hub in 2011, has mobilized over $30,000 in sponsorship for the event, which is expected to be the largest shea industry event ever in Africa. Online registration is open here. www.globalshea.com

The Global Shea Alliance participated in three national events in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria, reaching about 400 stakeholders with information on the Alliance’s work. More than 300 shea industry stakeholders participated in the first Nigerian national shea day in Minna, Nigeria; in Abidjan, 16 stakeholders learned about the Alliance’s efforts to promote shea quality standards; and in Tamale, Ghana, 60 stakeholders learned about the Alliance at the Ghana National Shea Forum. The Global Shea Alliance presented an overview of the upcoming shea conference. www.globalshea.com

The GSA secretariat and the Executive Committee Vice President met with Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) in London, England, to discuss collaboration regarding the development and management of the Alliance’s sustainability platform.  ETI agreed to offer technical assistance in a variety of areas and is evaluating joint funding for the initiative through DFID. www.globalshea.com

More than 30 international brands, including Marks and Spencer, Yves Rocher, Jurlique, Whole Foods, and Delibel, learned about the Global Shea Alliance at the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit in Paris. The Alliance is recruiting brands and retailers for membership, 2013 conference attendance, and participation in working groups on quality, sustainability, and promotion to be formed at Shea 2013: Global Perspectives, which will take place March 4-6, 2013, in Abuja, Nigeria. www.globalshea.com

U.S. Ambassador visits Port of Tema in Ghana with USAID Trade Hub advisors

U.S. Ambassador Gene Cretz (second from left in photo) discussed port issues with officials at the Port of Tema with support from the USAID Trade Hub’s transport team. Officials also gave the Ambassador a tour of the facilities. With support from Ambassador Cretz, the USAID Trade Hub was instrumental in reviving direct service to the US on the Grimaldi shipping line; the discontinuation of the service had threatened the viability of the Lucky1888Mills venture to export apparel from Ghana to the US. The Port of Tema has seen volumes increase by 60% over the last two years. www.borderlesswa.com

New Enhanced AGOA Resource Center opens in Niamey

93 business people in Niger, including 37 women, learned about the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) at the opening of an enhanced AGOA Resource Center in Niamey. U.S. Ambassador Bisa Williams, the General Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Promotion of SMEs Abdoulaye Garba and the Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce Saleh Seydou officially inaugurated the Center, which is hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. www.agoatoolkit.com

Ivoirian apparel designers participate in USAID Trade Hub training

40 apparel designers and producers in Côte d’Ivoire learned how to export their products to international markets, including how to take advantage of the tariff-elimination benefits accorded by the African Growth and Opportunity Act, during a three-day workshop in Abidjan. The workshop was organized and implemented by the USAID Trade Hub and supported by the USAID Business Environments for Agile Markets project. www.watradehub.com

Ghanaian cashew processor obtains ACA Quality and Sustainability Seal

Mim Cashew in Ghana has been awarded the African Cashew Alliance Quality and Sustainability Seal and a cashew processor in Tanzania is the first in East Africa to sign up for the program. The seal, with support from Kraft Foods, Intersnack and other private sector members of the ACA, helps ensure processors meet international standards for food quality and safety. A USAID Trade Hub-produced video explains it in more detail here (LINK). www.africancashewalliance.com

U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers discuss USAID Trade Hub activities in Senegal

30 U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers in Senegal learned about the USAID Trade Hub’s export promotion activities during a workshop in Dakar. U.S. Ambassador Lewis Lukens and U.S. Peace Corps Director Michael Simsik also participate in the session.

Buyer ships handcrafts products from Senegal with USAID Trade Hub support

A U.S. handcrafts importer completed an order from Senegal, the culmination of over one year of assistance from the USAID Trade Hub. The order included straw and plastic woven baskets, plastic mats, paper mache animals and recycled metal bugs. The value of the items exceeds US$ 100,000. www.africa-now.org

Shopping guide puts West African products in the spotlight for the holidays

The holiday shopping guide created by the Trade Hub’s Market Linkages team for the Tradewinds newsletter led to dozens of requests from consumers keen to buy gifts with social impact, after a spate of viral posts on Facebook and Twitter. The team expects the interest generated from these sales to have a multiplier effect, as gift recipients learn more about the unique, innovative, and meaningful products from West Africa.

News from the Borderless Alliance... Roadshow in Ghana focuses on delays, harassment... National committee forming in Niger... Ghana-Togo Border Information Center organizes forum... Alliance presents at logistics confab in Senegal

120 drivers and about 30 key transport stakeholders from Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger participated in a Borderless roadshow in Tema, Ghana, organized and conducted by the USAID Trade Hub with the Borderless Alliance. Participants heard the latest data on checkpoints, bribes and delays from the USAID-UEMOA road governance initiative. The arresting of foreign drivers by Ghana police after accidents and the lack of adequate parking space at the Port of Tema (which leads to illegal parking at the port) were among the issues drivers raised. The direct of the Border Information at the Ghana-Togo border, Evans Klutse, also presented an overview of the Center’s work. www.borderlesswa.com

35 private sector companies and representatives of the public sector in Niger learned about the Borderless Alliance and its advocacy efforts to increase trade in West Africa at a forum in Niamey. The Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Handicraft of Niger offered to host the National Committee and to organize an official ceremony in mid-January for its inauguration. www.borderlesswa.com

More than 50 stakeholders gathered in Aflao, Ghana, for a forum to evaluate the impact of the pilot Border Information Center (BIC), which was launched by the USAID Trade Hub in August 2011 in partnership with the Ghana Shippers’ Authority.  Importers, transporters, and clearing agents joined customs officers and other border agencies to note the time-saving procedures introduced by the destination inspection company BIVAC as a result of advocacy efforts by the BIC and the USAID Trade Hub.  These procedures have reduced the average cargo clearance time of high value imports into Ghana by over two days. Customs at Aflao also announced that electronic tracking of transit cargo at Aflao will begin on Dec. 1st, eliminating the need for customs escorts and further reducing associated costs and delays. The meeting also served as forum for stakeholders to collectively discuss and address additional concerns and complaints at the border. www.borderlesswa.com

In Dakar, the USAID Trade Hub presented Borderless and the Borderless Alliance to stakeholders participating in the Salon International for Transport and Logistics Solutions (SISTL), organized jointly by the Union of Senegalese  shipping, forwarding  and Transport (USETTA), a Borderless Alliance member. www.borderlesswa.com

What do you think about USAID Trade Hub activities? Leave us a comment below or send us jlamport [at] watradehub [dot] com?subject=What's%20Happening%20comment">an email !

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Joint Regional Reports on Road Governance
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