The East African Business Council (EABC) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) have launched an online platform designed to boost the competitive edge of East African small businesses.
Dubbed Myeasoko, the digital initiative enables women and youth entrepreneurs to trade, Upskill, profile their goods and services, and most importantly keep up-to-date with the latest market opportunities. It also seeks to leverage digital technologies to support the recovery, build resilience and drive future growth of Women and Youth Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Additional services available on the platform include an integrated e-marketplace, a business listing portal, and an SME training academy. It is also envisioned that small businesses will have access to the required information to support their cross-border trade initiatives, this includes African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) trade documents and procedures for pre-selected shipments of goods to any of the countries identifies under the Guided Trade Initiative, through such an initiative.
“My East African Soko will re-introduce small businesses into global marketplaces, enable them to join regional value chains and give them an opportunity to scale up,” said Pamela Coke-Hamilton, ITC Executive Director, during the digital platform’s launch here on Friday.
On his part, EABC Chief Executive Officer John Bosco Kalisa emphasized that the regional business council had leveraged digital technologies and developed the digital platform with a view of supporting EAC’s economic recovery, building resilience, and driving future growth for SMEs, especially youth and women.
He said: SMEs provide goods and services that are better adapted to local markets; stimulate innovation; entrepreneurship, sustain economic growth, and account for 60 per cent of jobs in the EAC.
According to Mr Kalisa, the platform also reinforces ITC’s keen focus to leverage the trend in digitization and collaborate with key business support organizations to support African women and youth entrepreneurs in broadening their opportunities through intra-African trade.
In his rejoinder, Arusha regional commissioner John Mongella reiterated the government’s pledge of providing a conducive environment for SMEs and large businesses to thrive and trade beyond Tanzania’s borders.
He further urged SMEs to showcase their products and access the EAC and African markets via the digital platform.