Comesa e-commerce platform to ease regional trade barriers

Technology

Comesa e-commerce platform to ease regional trade barriers


The Singaporean-flagged vessel, Mv NYK Clara, docks at the port of Mombasa. PHOTO FILE | NMG

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Summary

  • The platform will allow traders to trade across borders using information technology to minimize physical barriers.
  • Sokokuu is the Swahili word for large market.
  • The platform allows manufacturers and suppliers from different Member States to share information about their potential for production and supply of products.

The Comesa Federation of Women in Business and the African e-Trade Group (Ae-Trade) have launched an online platform Sokokuu for traders in the regional block.

The platform will allow traders to trade across borders using information technology to minimize physical barriers. Sokokuu is the Swahili word for large market.

The platform allows manufacturers and suppliers from different Member States to share information about their potential for production and supply of products.

Sokokuu will complement existing platforms such as womenconnect, which is used by women entrepreneurs in regional states to exchange information on the availability of essential commodities in the region.

Two other institutions of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), such as Comesa Business Council and African Leather and Leather products) have already signed memoranda of understanding with Ae-Trade to implement the platform. Sokokuu.

AeTrade is a multi-stakeholder group of African professionals and entrepreneurs with the objective of developing and implementing an online empowerment program, which will improve intra and inter-African trade.

The group brings together partners from the public and private sectors to develop projects that harness the power of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for the benefit of entrepreneurs in Africa.

Speaking at the launch at the Annual Regional Trade Fair of the Federation of Businesswomen’s Second Comesa in Lusaka, General Secretary Chileshe Kapwepwe highlighted the role of ICT in strengthening regional integration.

“Four years ago, Comesa decided to focus on promoting digital economic integration and adopted the theme of digital economic integration,” she said.

“The decision was based on the understanding that the region was on the brink of a new industrial revolution, driven by next generation information technology.”

The adoption of the Digital Free Trade Area was aimed at strengthening the implementation of the Free Trade Area, which was launched in October 2000 to facilitate regional integration of Comesa.

It aims to enable traders to trade across borders using ICT as a tool to minimize physical barriers and provide the necessary infrastructure for improving global trade.

It is for this reason that Comesa has adopted Sokokuu as a valuable tool, especially in the era of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has restricted physical contact.

The Executive Director of the Comesa Federation of Women in Business, Ruth Negash, reiterated the importance of creating an enabling environment to support the adoption of e-commerce by ensuring that women and girls have full access to ICTs, including devices. and digital services.

Other organizations represented at the forum included the African Union, United Nations Development Programs, the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat and Ae-Trade Group.

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