Small-scale traders to benefit from Sh8b EU funding
Kenyan small-scale traders are among those set to benefit from €68 million (Sh7.7 billion) European Union (EU) projects in the sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
EU through three regional blocs is funding small-scale traders under two projects namely; Regional Small-Scale Cross Border Trade Initiative (SSCBTI) project at €15 million (Sh1.7 billion) and Trade Facilitation Project to be undertaken at a cost of €53 million (Sh6 billion).
The blocs include Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), East African community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC).
In a statement sent to media houses from Comesa Secretariat in Lusaka Zambia , small traders are the key beneficiaries of new projects, which are basically aimed at increasing formal small-scale cross-border trade flows in the SSA.
Speaking during an inaugural meeting of the Project Steering Committee (PSC) in Lusaka, Kipyego Cheluget, Assistant Secretary General in charge of Comesa programmes, said the two projects are designed to enhance trade across the borders.
“PSC will provide the overall policy and strategic guidance on implementation of the projects and specifically, to co-ordinate implementation among various actors, who have been delegated and co-delegated to handle various aspects of the programme,” he added.
Implementation of the two projects, Cheluget said, is expected to contribute to higher revenue collection for governments at the borders, increased security and improved incomes for traders.
The SSCBT initiative is designed to address challenges facing small-scale traders which include high transactions costs arising from delays at the border, high taxes and high transport costs, corruption and harassment.
In Comesa region, small-scale cross-border trade accounts for 30 to 40 per cent of total trade.
The Trade Facilitation Programme aims at increasing intra-regional trade flows of goods, persons and services by reducing the costs and delays of imports and exports at specific border posts.