EAC, EU launch second phase of the market access

Tuesday, October 24th, 2023 02:22 | By
Avocado. PHOTO/Print
Avocado. PHOTO/Print

The first phase of a European Union (EU) backed market access upgrade programme in East Africa spiked growth of coffee exports from the Esat Africa Community (EAC) regional block to European markets from €488 million (Sh77.7 billion) in 2018 to €1.1 billion (Sh159.2 billion) in 2022.

During that period, avocado exports to the EU market grew from €85.5 million to €112.4 million, says EAC Secretary General Dr Peter Mathuki.

The €40 million (Sh6.4 billion) regional programme funded by the EU is set to unlock the full potential of agribusinesses within the EAC, Dr Mathuki said at the launch of Phase 11 of the EAC – EU programme.

A total of 37,819 small and medium enterprises were reached in this first phase with most becoming more competitive on international markets. In the first phase, more than 115 companies achieved a collective $16 million in sales and exports. The phase also drew $1 million (Sh150 million) in investment for over 70 small businesses.

More than 40 business support organizations said that their work became more effective through their involvement in the programme.

Priority areas

The second phase 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 the current success, focus priority sectors will include 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 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.

More on Business