DAR ES SALAAM, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) — The East African Community (EAC), in partnership with the European Union (EU), has launched a 40-million-euro regional program aimed at unlocking the full potential of agribusinesses within the regional bloc, the EAC said in a statement.
The statement, issued Wednesday by the EAC headquarters in Tanzania’s northern city of Arusha, said that the EAC and the EU formally launched the second phase of the EU-EAC Market Access Upgrade Program (MARKUP II) Tuesday.
Implemented by the International Trade Center in collaboration with the EAC Secretariat, MARKUP II will strengthen the EAC’s small businesses by enhancing regional and international trade in close partnership with the East African Business Council, the EAC member states, business support organizations and local institutions, according to the statement.
The statement also mentioned that 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. This will be done emphasising processing, value addition, diversification, investment and export linkages.
Peter Mathuki, the EAC secretary-general, said that the MARKUP program had made significant contributions to value addition through improved coffee processing, coffee cupping certifications, resource efficiency and circular production in the tea and coffee sectors in the region.
Mathuki said that around 700 enterprises, specifically micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises in the region, were supported through MARKUP I to improve their business operations and exports.
The EAC member states are Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda.