USAID plans to assist women traders at EAC borders

In Summary

May 25, 2018—A USAID funded project is to soon begin mobilization and profiling of women cross-border […]

May 25, 2018—A USAID funded project is to soon begin mobilization and profiling of women cross-border trading associations and the traders themselves, to create a database to begin first training them then later boost their capacity to deal in staple foods and horticulture products in the East African Community (EAC).


Some 74% of informal cross-border trade is handled by women who the Americans want to see more empowered to become fully-fledged businesswomen.

The Nairobi-based USAID Hub has signed a grant with the Agribusiness Focused Partnership Organization (AGRIFOP) to drive formal trade in the EAC through the empowerment of women trading along the common borders.

According to the most recent studies, 74% of informal cross-border trade is handled by women and for the majority it is their only source of income. However the traded items are usually of low value such that the profit margins are also very low. Figures are sketch but one estimates put informal cross border trade at 10 pc to 15 pc of the total $4.5 billion in intra-EAC trade.

AGRIFOP’s mission is to increase agricultural productivity in a sustainable manner through the development and transfer of effective and environmentally friendly business approaches to secure agricultural marketing expertise.

The USAID Hub’s grant to AGRIFOP builds on the Hub’s previous work with the Agricultural Market Development Trust (AGMARK). The AGMARK grant mainly focused on the creation of the East Africa Cross-Borders Traders Association which provides cross-border traders with a stronger voice in the EAC and a platform to participate in the formulation of trade policies.

Under that grant, AGMARK also built the capacity of cross border traders along the eastern borders of the EAC. The AGRIFOP grant will focus on building the women cross border traders along the western borders of EAC. AGRIFOP will also work closely with the East Africa Cross-Borders Traders Association in order to build more collaboration among the cross border traders.

Empowering women to use formal trade channels helps them to take advantage of cross-border trade facilities and leaves them less vulnerable to actors that prey upon the disenfranchised. The money will also improve the capacity of participating women traders through entrepreneurial skills building, market opportunity awareness, linkages to financial institutions, and business-to-business linkages. By the end of the project, participating women traders will have the capacity to earn more and participate more fully in formal trade.


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