The East African Business Council (EABC) in partnership with the International Trade Centre (ITC) have launched an online platform www.myeasoko.com which has been designed to boost the competitive edge for East African small businesses.
The platform provides information to small businesses in the region with an avenue to support their recovery, build resilience and drive growth using digital technologies.
Traders and service providers from across the region can interact on the platform’s web portal or mobile application to access business information, market their products online, attract international buyers and expand their trade opportunities.
Additional services available on the platform include an integrated an e-marketplace, business listings portal and Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) training academy.
Small businesses will also have access to the required information to support their cross-border trade initiatives, this includes the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) trade documents and procedures for pre-selected shipments of goods to any of the countries identifies under the Guided Trade Initiative.
The grand ceremonial occasion took place on Saturday last week in Arusha and was graced by Arusha
Regional Commissioner as a Chief Guest, Hon. John Mongella, and other several high-level officials attended the event including EABC Executive Director John Bosco Kalisa.
Others in attendance were the ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton, EABC Board Director Mr.
Kake Dhariwal, and a Member of Parliament of East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Hon. Pamela Maassay.
Others who attended the ceremony were members of East African Women in Business Platform, British
Business Group Arusha Chapter and Tanzania Association of Horticulture, YouLead Africa and Mr. Steve
Machage, Lead Expert, One Trade Africa- ITC.
The Press Release issued by EABC says that, the launch of the platform reinforces ITC’s keen focus to leverage the trend in digitization and collaborate with key business support organizations to support
African women and youth entrepreneurs in broadening their opportunities through intra-African trade.
The new platform is a welcome tool for East African small businesses having borne the brunt of the COVID-19 crisis and facing impact of the conflict in Ukraine which has compromised a tentative recovery and disrupted global supply chains.
During the event’s opening, EABC Executive Director John Bosco Kalisa emphasized that, “EABC has leveraged digital technologies and has developed this platform to support the EAC’s economic recovery, build resilience and drive future growth for SMEs especially youth and women”.
He stated SMEs provide goods and services that are better adapted to local markets, stimulate innovation, entrepreneurship, sustain economic growth and account for 60 percent jobs in the region.
While addressing the participants the Arusha RC reiterated the Government of the United Republic of
Tanzania’s commitment as well as a pledge of providing conducive environment for SMEs and large business to thrive and trade beyond Tanzania’s borders, under the leadership of H.E. President Samia Suluhu Hassan.
Hon. Mongella further urged SMEs to showcase their products and access the EAC and Africa market via the platform.
On her part, an MP for EALA Hon. Pamela Maassay, said the Assembly is steadfast to unlock barriers to intra-EAC trade and ease business through enacting bills and policies.
As part of the e-commerce services available the platform has integrated a mobile app notification system to ensure continued interaction between small businesses and EABC for efficient last mile delivery.
The platform is also enabled to accept online payments, track product delivery, and provide 24hr customer support through an integrated chat support system and social media. Areas with low internet coverage will be able to access the platform using a mobile android application currently available for download.
One Trade Africa works to enable, empower and enhance African SMEs, women and youth entrepreneurs to access new transformative business opportunities created by the AfCFTA.
EABC is the regional apex body of private sector associations and Corporates from the 7 East African countries which are Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The council was established in 1997 to foster the interests of the private sector in the integration process of the East African Community. EABC vision is a borderless East Africa for business and investment with a primary mission of promoting sustainable private sector-driven growth in the EAC.