Lorries queuing at the Malaba border in 2010.
Photo: TMEA


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East Africa is a region severely affected by extreme poverty. Enhancing trade could help tackle the problem, although a number of obstacles need to be cleared. TradeMark East Africa, acting in the context of the Aid for Trade (AfT) Initiative, seeks to boost international trade by interventions in trade-related infrastructure.

Extreme poverty remains a major impediment to economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. Seventy-two per cent of the population, an estimated 585 million people, lack the bare necessities of life. According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the region remains one of the most unequal in the world. One of the key strategies in tackling extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, and especially in the East African Community (EAC), is to enhance the trade environment and increase the region’s ability to trade.

Globally, the international trade environment has been improving since the 2005 launch of the Aid for Trade Initiative (AfT), by the World Trade Organization (WTO). The initiative helps developing countries to trade by tackling and eliminating trade related infrastructure and policy obstacles that stifle their ability to engage in international trade. AfT provides assistance to developing countries to build their physical infrastructure and human and institutional capacity to trade.

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