KENYA – The government of Kenya has received US$18 million support from Denmark to help promote East Africa regional trade and combat Covid-19 pandemic.
The funding will be channelled through TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), which works with governments in the region to reduce trade barriers through automation and setting up of the required infrastructure such as One Stop Border Posts (OSBPs).
The Danish funding comes in two financial agreements with US$15 million funding Kenya’s efforts to transition to Green Trade and creating sustainable jobs under the Denmark and Kenya Strategic Framework for 2021 to 2025.
The second agreement of US$3 million will go towards the support of continued response to Covid-19 under TradeMark East Africa’s Safe Trade Emergency Facility (Safe Trade) Programme.
Under the green trade funding, TMEA will partner with government institutions and private sector in adopting sustainable and efficient transport and infrastructure for reduced barriers to trade.
It will also focus on improving trading standards, address sanitary and phytosanitary issues, and improving business competitiveness in Kenya.
Government agencies in Kenya are also expected to partner with TMEA on automation of systems to ease key trade processes and reduce use of paper and time taken to trade.
Denmark’s support to TMEA’s Safe Trade, that is being implemented in 10 countries, will enable continuous efforts to provide essential services at the region’s key entry and exit points while keeping front line border workers safe.
“US$15 million will fund Kenya’s efforts to transition to Green Trade and creating sustainable jobs under the Denmark and Kenya Strategic Framework for 2021 to 2025”
Safe Trade is focused on combating Covid-19, including provision of protective equipment, supporting roll-out and uptake of the Regional Electronic Cargo and Driver Tracking System (RECDTS) and construction of safe trade zones for women traders across various borders.
Denmark ambassador to Kenya, Ole Thonke, said his government is committed to support trade and the fight against Covid-19 pandemic in the East African region.
Kenya’s East Africa and regional development Principal Secretary Kevit Desai welcomed the Danish support, saying it will help improve trade in the region.
“This support also contributes to Kenya’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development goals and the Paris Agreement,” Desai said.
Denmark is also supporting the non-motorised transport in the ongoing construction of Mbaraki Road, in Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa to include construction of storm water drainage facilities for climate change adaptation, installation of street lighting, construction of foot paths, walkways, and access ramps to enhance movement and safety of people living with disabilities.
TMEA chairman Erastus Mwencha said: “The resolve for promoting inclusive economic growth is greater now as it has always been as Covid-19 pandemic has thrust most economies in the region and the world into a recession.”
He added that the agency is keen to support initiatives that will restart the economy and adapt value chains fit for a post Covid-19 world, including seizing opportunities for local production and export growth.
TradeMark has contributed to reducing transport time of key corridors by above 16 percent in the East African Community and a 70 percent fall in cargo dwell times at one-stop border posts between 2014 and 2019.
The funding comes at a pivotal moment in Kenya’s and Africa’s growth trajectory; at the start of trading under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
TMEA country director Ahmed Farah said its programme in Kenya will continue supporting the government in establishing market linkages to enhance Kenya’s access to regional and international markets, thus stimulating local job industry and promoting green, sustainable, and inclusive trade.
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