The East African Community (EAC) and European Union (EU) have formally launched the second phase of the EU-EAC Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP II) in Arusha, Tanzania.
A €40 million regional programme funded by the EU is set to unlock the full potential of agribusinesses within the EAC.
Implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC) in collaboration with the EAC Secretariat, MARKUP II will strengthen EAC’s small businesses through enhanced regional and international trade in close partnership with the East African Business Council, EAC Partner States, business support organizations, and local institutions.
Building on the successes of MARKUP I, the new phase will focus on EAC priority sectors including avocado, cocoa, coffee, essential oils, French beans, gum arabic, horticulture, leather, packaging, spices, and tea – with an emphasis on processing, value addition, diversification, investment, and export linkages.
A new development in MARKUP II is the inclusion of packaging as a standalone and crosscutting value chain, addressing the unique challenges by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the EAC.
Crucial to the success of MARKUP II will be the continued inclusion of women and youth in trade. A regional Steering Committee chaired by the EAC Secretariat, which will include representation from relevant national ministries, will provide overall direction for the programme.
Speaking at the launching ceremony Dr.Peter M. Mathuki, Secretary General of the EAC said MARKUP programme contributed immensely in value addition through improved coffee processing, coffee cupping certifications, resource efficiency and circular production in the tea and coffee sectors in the region.
“About 700 enterprises specifically MSMEs in the region were supported through MARKUP I to improve their business operations and export. International transactions worth more than USD 10 million were generated and MSMEs accessed finances worth USD 9 million,” said Dr. Mathuki.
On her part, H.E.Christine GRAU, European Union Ambassador to Tanzania said: “MARKUP II demonstrates the EU’s commitment to supporting East African companies, fostering sustainable growth, and creating decent job opportunities.”
Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director, International Trade Centre, commended the great results of MARKUP I working closely with the EU and longstanding partner, the EAC.
“Our joint efforts to strengthen the region’s agricultural and horticultural sectors will help small businesses become more competitive on the international stage and help deliver on sustainable development priorities for the region and the continent.”
Notable contributions of MARKUP I include remarkable growth in EAC exports, such as coffee exports to EU markets more than doubling from €488 million in 2018 to €1.1 billion in 2022, and avocado exports growing from €85.5 million to €112.4 million. Additionally, 37,819 small and medium enterprises were reached in this first phase and were empowered to become more competitive on international markets.
In phase one, more than 115 companies achieved a collective US$16 million in sales and exports.
MARKUP I also helped draw in US$1 million in investment for over 70 small businesses. Over 40 business support organizations shared that their work became more effective through their involvement in the programme.