INVESTMENT

Finland signs deal with TradeMark Africa to enhance trade

Kenya among countries that will benefit.

In Summary

•Over the past ten years, Finland has contributed over Sh3.7bn in core funding through TMA, which has facilitated innovation, sustainability, and cross-border collaboration.

•TMA has implemented initiatives to increase efficiencies through physical and digital infrastructure development, trade policies and building ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam.

TradeMark Africa CEO David Beer, Finland Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Ville Tavio, Finnish Ambassador to Kenya Pirrka Tapiola and other officials during the announcement of 12 million Euros in funding to TradeMark Africa to support trade facilitation work in Africa/ HANDOUT
TradeMark Africa CEO David Beer, Finland Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Ville Tavio, Finnish Ambassador to Kenya Pirrka Tapiola and other officials during the announcement of 12 million Euros in funding to TradeMark Africa to support trade facilitation work in Africa/ HANDOUT

The Finnish government has committed €12 million (Sh1.7 billion) funding to TradeMark Africa (TMA), to support trade related investments aimed at unlocking Africa’s economic potential.

This is through reducing the time and cost of cross-border trade, where Kenya is among countries that have continued to attract TMA investments.

The funding will support projects aligned with TMA’s third strategic plan (2023 - 2030) which will advance inclusive, clean, and digital trade in Africa.

The announcement was made in Naivasha on Friday by Finland’s Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Ville Tavio, alongside the TMA CEO, David Beer.

The Minister expressed his satisfaction at the progress and impact of projects supported by Finland through TMA, noting that the renewed support resonates with Finland’s commitment to championing sustainable development and economic growth in Africa.

 “I am happy to see TradeMark Africa being at the forefront of trade facilitation work,” Tavio said, emphasizing the importance of technology, ““Now, the digitalisation is brought to the center of the activities. Harnessing the new technologies is a key to surpass some of the challenges faced by the African Continent.”

Minister Tavio also highlighted the mutual benefits of TradeMark Africa’s efforts, saying: “We believe that TradeMark Africa’s work also benefits us directly. The increased economic activity in this part of the world creates more opportunities for our companies as well. Finland is proud to be part of your success story of regional economic integration.”

This funding is particularly timely as TMA designs new projects that are expected to generate impact in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Beer noted that Finland’s long-standing support has delivered projects that have driven down the cost and time of trading across borders in the region, and boosted trade between Africa and Europe.

“This partnership allows us to deliver real results for businesses in Africa. We have seen dwell times at major ports reduce, and the time and cost of transporting goods along East African corridors go down significantly. These successes increase margins for exporters, and build trade flows,” he said.

“As we expand our operations across Africa, we are grateful for Finland’s strong continued commitment to taking down trade barriers in Africa.”

Over the past ten years, Finland has contributed over 26.9 million Euros ($29 million or Sh3.7 billion) in core funding through TMA, which has facilitated innovation, sustainability, and cross-border collaboration, resulting in empowered enterprises.

These interventions include digitisation of port systems including Mombasa, construction, and operationalisation of one-stop border posts (OSBPs) across the East Africa Community, support for women in trade, among others.

Since its establishment in 2010, TMA has implemented initiatives aimed at increasing efficiencies through physical and digital infrastructure development, enhancing trade policies, and building at the ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam.

TMA has also supported implementation of customs systems for revenue agencies such as Kenya Revenue Authority’s Integrated Customs Management System (iCMS), Uganda Revenue Authority’s Asycuda World System, and national electronic single windows in Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.

The Finland government is rooting for sea-freight in exportation of horticulture produce terming the move as environmentally sustainable.

According to Tavio, Finland believes in free trade adding that trading across borders was necessary to ensure a future that was more prosperous.

He termed as ground-breaking, the move by farmers and stakeholders to shift horticulture production and transportation from air to sea.

“The EU together with member States have been a driving force for the change from air to sea in transportation of horticultural produce,” said the Finnish Minister.

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