The East African Business Council (EABC) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) have launched an online platform – www.myeasoko.com – designed to boost the competitive edge of East African small businesses. The platform provides small businesses in the region with an avenue to support their recovery, build resilience and drive growth using digital technologies.
The platform My East African Soko or Myeasoko is developed by EABC in partnership with ITC’s 5-year corporate programme One Trade Africa. Traders and service providers from across the region can interact on the platform’s web portal or mobile application to access business information, market their products online, attract international buyers and expand their trade opportunities.
Additional services available on the platform include an integrated an e-marketplace, business listings portal and SME training academy. Small businesses will also have access to the required information to support their cross-border trade initiatives, this includes AfCFTA trade documents and procedures for pre-selected shipments of goods to any of the countries identifies under the Guided Trade Initiative.
Several high-level officials attended the event including EABC Executive Director John Bosco Kalisa; ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton; EABC Board Director Kake Dhariwal; Arusha Regional Commissioner John Mongella; MP of East African Legislative Assembly Pamela Maassay; Members of East African Women in Business Platform; British Business Group Arusha Chapter; and Tanzania Association of Horticulture. Others were YouLead Africa and Steve Machage, Lead Expert, One Trade Africa – ITC.
The launch of Myeasoko 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.
“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 Ms. Pamela Coke-Hamilton.
The new platform is a welcome tool for East African small businesses having borne the brunt of the COVID-19 crisis and facing impact of the conflict in Ukraine which has compromised a tentative recovery and disrupted global supply chains.
During the event’s opening, EABC Executive Director John Bosco Kalisa emphasized: “EABC has leveraged digital technologies and has developed www.myeasoko.com to support the EAC’s economic recovery, build resilience and drive future growth for SMEs especially youth and women.”
Kalisa stated SMEs provide goods and services that are better adapted to local markets; stimulate innovation; entrepreneurship, sustain economic growth and account for 60% jobs in the EAC.
The Chief Guest, John Mongella, Arusha Regional Commissioner reiterated the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania pledge to providing conducive environment for SMEs and large business to thrive and trade beyond Tanzania’s borders, under the leadership of President Samia Suluhu Hassan. Mongella further urged SMEs to showcase their products and access the EAC and Africa market via www.myeasoko.com .
Pamela Maassay, MP of East African Legislative Assembly said the Assembly is steadfast to unlock barriers to intra-EAC trade and ease business through enacting bills and policies.
As part of the e-commerce services available the platform has integrated a mobile app notification system to ensure continued interaction between small businesses and EABC for efficient last mile delivery.
The platform is also enabled to accept online payments, track product delivery, and provide 24hr customer support through an integrated chat support system and social media. Areas with low internet coverage will be able to access the platform using a mobile android application currently available for download.
The platform’s launch was a featured highlight during the regional EAC business gathering themed “Embracing New Trading Trends Amidst Global Shocks: Business Rebound & Building Back Better.”
Other industry captains at the unveiling ceremony of the www.myeasoko.com were Mr. Vincent Lasway from Kibo Palace Hotel and Doreen Wilfred Tarimo from HighLife Spirit and Managers from Tanzania Breweries Limited.
One Trade Africa works to enable, empower and enhance African MSMEs, women and youth entrepreneurs to access new transformative business opportunities created by the AfCFTA. The programme embraces a three-pronged delivery model which supports African MSMEs to compete, connect and change at the enterprise, business ecosystem and policy levels. ITC provides African MSMEs with training, advice and coaching to build capacities, connect to new and more lucrative markets, and create jobs.
The East African Business Council (EABC) is the regional apex body of private sector associations and Corporates from the 7 East African countries. It was established in 1997 to foster the interests of the private sector in the integration process of the East African Community. EABC vision is a borderless East Africa for business and investment. The primary mission of the EABC is to promote sustainable private sector-driven growth in the EAC.
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