TMEA chief backs cross border women traders

09Mar 2016
Our Reporter
The Guardian
TMEA chief backs cross border women traders

CROSS border women traders constitute a significant force in the informal sector that should be incorporated into the mainstream forma business system.

TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) Board Chairman, Ali Mufuruki said his institution is committed to train and building capacity of the women who have suffered at the hands of law enforcers because of their nature of business.

“At TradeMark East Africa, we are committed to build capacity of these women and provide friendly border facilities that are friendly to them,” Mufuruki said in Dar es Salaam on Monday evening during a roundtable to mark the eve of International Women’s Day.

He said apart from training the business women in partnership with Tanzania Women Chamber of Commerce, TMEA has also established information desks at all border posts which it has built to advise the group on modalities to do business across East African Community.

Mufuruki who is also founder and Executive Chairman of Infotech Group of companies pointed out that after training them in EAC common market regulations, quality and standards, many business women have been integrated into the mainstream formal trading system of the bloc.

He urged business people, private companies and public institutions to give women equal opportunity in holding positions of authority noting that at TMEA gender parity is a central issue when it comes to resource allocation.

“TradeMark east Africa is a model organization when it comes to gender equality,” the first TMEA Board Chairman stressed.

TWCC Executive Director, Flora Rimoy said TMEA has assisted a lot in empowering cross border women traders who did not understand anything regarding EAC common market.

“Many of them carry goods which are valued at less than US$ 2,000 which means they don’t have to pay duties but did not know hence subjected to regular harassment from security agents,” Rimoy noted.

She pointed out that because of lack of information and knowledge many women traders were crossing the borders using informal path as smugglers although carrying commodities which don’t attract duty.

“We appreciate a lot TradeMark East Africa’s support which has taken our members to a different level,” Rimoy noted.

TMEA is an aid for trade organization established in 2010 with a budget of US$ 560 million (over 1.2trn/-) covering the period 2010/16 to support economic development in East Africa.

TMEA funds over 150 projects implemented across East Africa Community partner states and South Sudan backed by funding from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, UK and the US.