On August 4, 2015, senior staff of the SADC Secretariat, government officials from the United States Embassy Botswana, USAID, and the Southern Africa Trade Hub gathered at the SADC Secretariat for a ceremony to celebrate the handover of the recently completed Regional Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Strategies for Food Safety, Plant and Animal Health.
Since 2013, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub has been promoting a strategy to support investments into regional agricultural warehousing through an Agricultural Storage Investment Facility (ASIF) with initial focus in Malawi and subsequently Zambia. ASIF is designed to provide broad-based access to storage, finance, and markets that will directly benefit smallholder farmers in these Feed-the-Future countries.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub is providing technical support for the Zambia Agricultural Commodities Exchange (ZAMACE) warehouse receipts system to be launched in time for the 2015 harvest season.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub attended an awareness-raising workshop convened by the Zambia Seed Trade Association (ZASTA) to inform key personnel in seed companies of the harmonized seed regulations and measures in the SADC Region and to encourage participants to implement the regulations. The workshop was designed to simplify the information available in order to increase participation and regional seed release registration on the SADC Seed Center Catalogue, which is being supported by the Trade Hub.
The USAID Southern Africa Trade Hub assessed the seed industry in Mozambique during the week of April 13-17, 2015, interviewing seed industry stakeholders on the national seed regulatory environment and progress on domestication of the SADC Harmonised Seed Regulations System (HSRS). Meetings were held with both public sector and private sector representatives, including the nascent Mozambique Seed Industry Association and the Scaling Seeds and Technologies Partnership, which was jointly established by USAID and the Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
In February 2016, USAID will again support a number of companies from Southern Africa to attend the MAGIC Las Vegas fashion trade show. Based on the success of last year’s participation at MAGIC, USAID is organizing an integrated “Sourcing Africa Pavilion” where textile and apparel companies from Southern, East, and West Africa will jointly exhibit. A number of leading Lesotho and South African apparel companies have already committed to attend MAGIC.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub met with Steve Lamar, Executive Vice-President of the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), in Washington DC during the week of December 21, 2015. AAFA is the national trade association representing apparel, footwear, and other sewn product companies and suppliers.
In February 2016, USAID will again support a number of companies from Southern Africa to attend MAGIC Las Vegas, the largest fashion trade show in the world. Based on the success of last year’s participation at MAGIC, USAID is organizing an integrated “Sourcing Africa Pavilion” where textile and apparel companies from Southern, East, and West Africa will jointly exhibit.
On December 17, 2015, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub participated in a conference call with the Management Support and Technical Assistance Services Project (MSTAS) and USAID’s East and West Africa Trade and Investment Hubs.
USAID is going to support a number of companies from Southern Africa to attend MAGIC Las Vegas, the world’s largest and most important textile, apparel, and footwear trade show, in mid-February 2016.
The Trade Hub moderated a key session on the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) during the Botswana Investment and Trade Conference, which was held during the Global Expo Botswana 2015 organized by the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC). The theme of the conference was “Promoting Economic Diversification through Export Oriented Foreign Direct Investment and Domestic Expansions.”
Working closely with the outgoing Assistant US Trade Representative for Textiles Gail Strickler, USAID and the Southern Africa Trade Hub recently facilitated the participation of the Hon. Joshua Setipa, Trade Minister of Lesotho, on a panel at the “Sourcing Journal Forum” in New York City. The African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) was a particular topic of focus at the forum.
Over the past three years, Source Africa has grown into an important annual pan-African textile, clothing, footwear and fashion accessory trade event, this year attracting over 1,600 local, regional and international visitors, and more than 200 African exhibitors.
For the first time since its inaugural show three years ago, Source Africa, the continent’s leading African textile, apparel and footwear trade show supported by USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub and scheduled for June 9-11, 2015, has completely sold out the exhibition space at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC). With more than 200 exhibitors from over 18 countries prepared to attend the show this year, Source Africa continues to grow and build momentum as a premier sourcing platform.
Following the successful USAID-USTR AGOA Renewal and Source Africa Reception co-hosted by the Embassy of Botswana in Washington DC in mid-April, the Southern Africa Trade Hub held a number of consultative meetings with the Assistant United States Trade Representative for Apparel and Textiles (AUSTR) and other stakeholders. Meetings covered the promotion of Source Africa with major US and European buyers, African manufacturers, and the international media; the finalization of seminar and business roundtable speakers; and overall coordination and planning for the trade event.
The Trade Hub supported seven apparel companies from Botswana and Lesotho to participate in MAGIC, the largest fashion trade show in the world, in Las Vegas from February 17-19. The companies met major buyers, large retailers, and importers for the US market such as Target, Ralph Lauren, the Perry Ellis Group, Teamwork, Happy Chef, and Sanmar.
On December 17, 2015, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub collaborated with the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS); Zambia’s Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry; and the UNIDO Trade Capacity Building Framework to support the inaugural Zambia Annual Quality Awards held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka.
On November 6, 2015, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub supported the Swaziland Standards Authority (SWASA) as they commemorated World Standards Day under the theme “Standards: The World’s Common Language” in Mbabane.
From October 27-29, 2015, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub Customs Modernization and Single Window Advisor Alistair Gall and Evans Chinembiri from the USAID Regional Economic Growth Office for Southern Africa participated in the Second Global Customs and Trade Facilitation Summit held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The event attracted 1,000 participants from over 100 nations with the goal of promoting global trade.
Following a request from the SADC Secretariat, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub supported the SADC Annual Quality Awards Training Workshop held in Johannesburg, South Africa from September 23-24, 2015. The objective of the two-day workshop was to review five years of implementation, share experiences, and improve the selection process.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub sponsored delegates from Malawi and Namibia to the 4th International Single Window Conference hosted by the African Alliance for E-Commerce (AACE) in Brazzaville, Congo from October 5-7, 2015.
From September 21-25, 2015, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub hosted the inaugural workshop of the Namibia National Single Window Legal Technical Working Group in Windhoek. Workshop participants identified a list of priority laws likely to be affected by the implementation of National Single Window; each of the priority laws was then assigned to working group members for their analysis and recommendations to the group for peer review.
On September 10, 2015, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub submitted the final version of the Comprehensive Trade Facilitation Programme (CTFP) document to SADC officials. This version of the CTFP incorporates changes that were made as a result of the inputs received from Member State representatives at the CTFP Workshop held in Johannesburg from September 1-3, 2015.
With the launch of the country’s expanded National Enquiry Point (NEP) on August 13, 2015, Mozambican exporters and importers now have an effective “one-stop shop” where they can receive information necessary for doing business with other World Trade Organization member countries and neighbors in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). The new and improved NEP will benefit trade by identifying standards, technical regulations, and conformity procedures to improve regional and global market access.
USAID's Southern Africa Trade Hub has engaged an expert to assist six countries in the region establish or reinstate and improve their National Consultative Committees (NCC) to help improve the effectiveness of the operations of the countries’ WTO Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) National Enquiry Point (NEP) and Notification Authorities.
USAID's Southern Africa Trade Hub, in collaboration with the Swaziland Standards Authority (SWASA), launched the World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) National Enquiry Point (NEP) in Matsapha, Swaziland, on June 23, 2015.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub, in partnership with Namibia’s Ministry of Finance and Namibia’s Customs and Excise, launched a powerful new tool on July 22, 2015 to increase and facilitate cross-border trade. Namibia’s Trade Information Portal is a web-based platform that provides an authoritative “one-stop shop” of readily accessible trade, customs, and compliance information.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub, in partnership with the Swaziland Standards Authority (SWASA), supported a High Schools Symposium on Standards on June 17, 2015 at the Mavuso Trade Centre in Manzini, Swaziland. The event was attended by over 150 people including the Under Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, Titus Khumalo.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub, in partnership with the Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS), organized back-to-back training workshops on Code of Good Practice for standards writing technical committee chairpersons and secretaries, and Referencing Standards in Regulations for standards and technical regulations developers at BOBS in Gaborone, from June 8-10 and June 11-12, 2015.
The official launch of the Namibia Trade Information Portal has been confirmed for July 22, 2015. The event will be hosted by the Ministry of Finance with the Honorable Minister Calle Schlettwein giving the keynote speech in the presence of USAID’s leadership.
On June 11, 2015, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub, in collaboration with the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS), held an awareness seminar in Livingstone, Zambia on the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade National Enquiry Point (NEP), which was re-launched in Lusaka in April.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub presented at the World Customs Organization’s IT Conference and Exhibition May 6-8 in Freeport, Bahamas on the topic “Efficient Transit Solutions for Reducing Costs of Trading.” The three-day conference and exhibition addressed the use of modern information and communications technology to help countries connect to global and regional value chains.
The USAID Southern Africa Trade Hub is conducting a stakeholder engagement and communications audit in Botswana that will result in a communications strategy for National Single Window (NSW). The strategy will build support for NSW and promote awareness of this initiative, which the Government of Botswana adopted earlier this year.
The Comprehensive Trade Facilitation Program (CTFP) draft for the Southern Africa Development Community was prepared by the Southern Africa Trade Hub and delivered to the SADC Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment (TIFI) Directorate.