As we know, the pandemic has had a negative impact on the economic activities of formal and informal trade in Eastern African. The most hard-hit sectors were the tourism, hospitality, airline industry and export horticulture. And because these sectors employ a large percentage of women, and about 80% of Cross Border Traders (CBT) are women, the pandemic has had a greater effect on women and border communities.
To resolve this issue, the TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) organisation created a Safe Trade Programme (STP) in Mozambique to support a range of critical short to medium-term measures to ensure safe trading, prevent the loss of jobs and protect the livelihoods of those most affected. Additionally, the gender and inclusion component of this program aims to help vulnerable men and women survive and bounce back from the current harsh economic conditions, as well as build survival and resilience capabilities to manage during a crisis period. Since the STP is focused mainly in emergency short term support, the key pillars to this facility are:
Making the ports, borders, and critical supply chains safe for trade;
Ensuring food security and access to critically required medicines; and
Supporting measures that reduce jobs losses and supports exports
Hence, the main purpose of TMEA’s STP is to create a baseline assessment to collect the key baseline data on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Women Cross Border Traders (WCBTs), provide a status of the indicators proposed (before and during the COVID-19 pandemic), and thus assess any changes caused by the key interventions of the program.
In addition to the above, additional key research questions will be posed aimed at broadly assessing the business enabling environment including implementation of the Simplified Trading Regulations (STR) in relation to the effects of the pandemic.