USAID’s West Africa Trade Hub is organizing the first conference focusing exclusively on how exporting companies can use ICT to lower costs and compete successfully in world markets. “Technology for Exporters” will take place Sept. 28-29 in Accra, Ghana. The conference will feature presentations, discussions and brainstorming sessions on using ICT. Experts will discuss using the web, productivity software and marketing techniques specifically tailored to exporting companies in nontraditional sectors. www.watradehub.com/tech4exporters2010
U.S. Ambassador James Knight (right) and Benin public officials opened an enhanced AGOA Resource Center in Cotonou, Benin, on Aug. 17. The new center is the 15th resource center in the region, a network managed by USAID's Trade Hub, but only the third to offer enhanced services to exporting businesses. Armelle Kouton (at left in the picture) is the eARC's new trade advisor. Benin's Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosts the new center. AGOA - the African Growth and Opportunity Act - eliminates tariffs on more than 6,400 products exported from eligible African countries. www.agoatoolkit.com
USAID’s West Africa Trade Hub and the Salon International de l’Artisanat de Ouagadougou (SIAO) are collaborating to present a series of workshops on exporting handcrafts to international markets during SIAO Oct. 29 to Nov. 7 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The workshop series will feature the latest information on market trends, new rules on the use of natural resources and practical information on how to export. Details on the workshops, free to exporting companies, will be available at www.africa-now.org
. Registration is limited. SIAO is the largest African handcrafts show on the continent and attracts over 300,000 visitors. It features more than 6,000 artisan exhibitors from across Africa. www.siao.bf
More than 130 shea industry stakeholders participated in “Shea: An economic resource for poverty reduction,” the second multi-sector stakeholder forum in Ghana, Aug. 19 and 20, sponsored by non-governmental organizations, including Oxfam and SNV, the Ghanaian government, including the Cocoa Board, and private sector companies, including Loders Croklaan. USAID’s Trade Hub Shea Advisor Dr. Peter Lovett presented the latest on accessing the international market for exporters. During the meeting, shea stakeholders developed a national shea agenda, discussed value chain issues and how to improve outcomes for all industry stakeholders. Presentations covered shea tree propagation, nut and processing methods and government regulation of the industry.
A new cashew processing facility has opened in Touba, Cote d’Ivoire, creating 140 jobs (85 for women). The new facility will process 500 metric tons of raw cashew nuts in its first year and reach 2,500 metric tons within three years. Technical assistance from the African Cashew Alliance, co-founded by the Trade Hub in 2005, helped the company initiate operations. The ACA is holding its fifth annual conference, “Empwer the Industry!”, in Maputo, Mozambique, Sept. 14-17. www.africancashewalliance.com
The USAID's Trade Hub ICT team trained exporting companies in Ghana on how to develop websites and to use ICT for efficient and effective communications. More than 20 exporting companies participated in the workshops. See related story in this edition of Tradewinds.
Technical assistance from USAID’s Trade Hub to Cameroonian apparel manufacturer Ken Atlantic was critical to the company’s success, its owner and manager, Caroline Kendem, told attendees to the 9th annual AGOA Forum in Kansas City. With assistance from USAID’s Trade Hub, the company’s American buyers imported its products duty-free under AGOA. USAID’s Trade Hub staff met with high-level government officials and West African entrepreneurs during the four-day AGOA Forum to discuss technical assistance needs and opportunities.
Trade Hub Home Décor & Fashion Accessories Advisor Elaine Bellezza worked with French designer Frederic Alcantara to develop trend-conscious product collections targeted for upcoming U.S. and European trade shows. Five companies in Burkina Faso were assisted in updating their collections.
USAID's Trade Hub Business Environment team has validated the findings of a comprehensive analysis of the gaps in the implementation of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) with public and private sector stakeholders in Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal. The team interviewed hundreds of stakeholders to complete the analysis in nine countries. In the recent validation workshops, officials in the countries said the analysis was thorough and the findings accurate. Harmonized implementation of the ETLS is a key step toward a customs union in the region and would reduce the costs of doing business, among other likely benefits.