Private sector and civil l society organisations have a reason to smile as TradeMark East Africa prepares to launch the second phase of Trademark East Africa Challenge Fund project.
According to Mark Priestley, the TradeMark East Africa country director, the second phase of the project will see $350,000 per project distributed to private companies and civil society organisations on a 50 per cent matching basis and 70 per cent for civil society groups.
"Only projects that will boost regional trade in East Africa by making it more competitive at the regional and international levels will benefit from the fund," Priestley stressed.
He emphasised that the projects must be innovative and aiming to increase cross-border trade, with the potential for social welfare gains and commercial visibility for them to qualify for funding.
"Projects must have the potential to bring on board catalysing innovations in services that enable cross-border trade and aiming at reducing the cost of doing trade in East Africa," he said.
Potential beneficiaries will include firms operating in finance, ICT, insurance, professional and logistical services. Innovative firms in areas of gathering evidence and mobilising public opinion, especially on how to deal with trade barriers and regional trade reforms, will also benefit.
The Private Sector Federation (PSF) director for advocacy, Gerald Mukubu, said the project presents the private sector an opportunity to innovate and contribute towards the realisation of the EAC integration.
Only one project from Rwanda out of 10 projects targeted benefitted from the first phase of the project last year.
TradeMark East Africa disbursed four grants last year to four businesses in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.