The British government has launched an £8.9-million programme to help businesses in the Southern African Customs Union, plus Mozambique (SACU+M), to enter and grow their export markets. Known as Trade Forward Southern Africa (TFSA), the initiative is part of the UK Prosperity Fund Global Trade Programme, and is especially intended to support women-owned and women-dominated businesses.
“This programme aims to help business better understand the new terms of trade under the new UK-[SACU+M] Economic Partnership Agreement,” explained British High Commissioner to South Africa Nigel Casey. “In particular it ensures the private sector and customs and trade facilitation officials have the information and tools they need to manage export and import clearance procedures effectively.”
The support provided by the programme will allow companies in general and women-centred firms in particular to widen their trade horizons both regionally and globally, contribute to economic recovery and stimulate wider growth. “[TFSA] is needed in our current regional context as it supports the growth of trade as well as improved gender equality and inclusiveness,” affirmed Future Females Namibia ambassador Beatrice Scholtz.
The initiative gives businesses access to the most recent information, as well as the tools they need to increase their markets and exports competitively. It also fits them out to achieve required standards and creates opportunities for them to operate in both regional and global value chains.
The TFSA programme also provides training to business people on achieving export standards. It provides targeted sessions for businesses regarding customs and export requirements for both regional and transcontinental trade and on UK market requirements in particular.
“TFSA’s online Trade and Information Hub supports the Southern African business community to thrive,” highlighted TFSA technical director Mark Walter. “Access the latest information and tools to start or grow your exports.”