Reducing Barriers to Trade
The high cost of transport is a key barrier to trade in Africa, and transit inefficiencies along corridors hamper Eastern and Central African (ECA) countries from being effective players in regional trade and in the global marketplace. USAID COMPETE helps improve operations at the Port of Mombasa, streamlines border management through the creation of Joint Border Committees at eight key border points along the Northern, Central and Dar transit corridors, and has scaled up use of the Revenue Authorities Digital Data Exchange (RADDEx), a software program that allows customs officials to communicate virtually across borders to a central EAC-wide platform. USAID COMPETE maintains a website portal of valuable information on East African transit and trade issues.
Trade policy and access to trade and investment finance are cross cutting issues that are embedded in all activities. USAID COMPETE works with partners to develop common regulatory policy standards that are consistent with global standards. In finance, USAID COMPETE works with the EAC to improve banking laws and payment systems, to reduce the cost and risk of lending in agriculture. USAID COMPETE-facilitated banker training programs and a pilot purchase-order-based lending program in partnership with regional commercial banks help to expand access to financial services across borders.