ITC expands East Africa, India business partnerships

For the past few years Indian private sector has been partnering with East Africa countries on selected investment areas under a project initiated by the Geneva based International Trade Center (ITC).

Labeled, Supporting Indian Trade and Investment for Africa (SITA), the project has focused on training, trade and investment promotion between India and east African countries namely, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania.

Agribusiness, leather, textiles and apparels and investment promotion are among the intervention areas the two sides have been collaborating. Below are some of the initiatives being implemented by ITC’s SITA project from October 2018 to January 2019.

SITA organized its first high-level agri-business investment promotion mission to India from 10th to 14th December 2018, focusing on three agri-business value chains, namely pulses, oilseeds and spices.

The delegation was led by high-level government representatives from Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia; and also comprised of the main trade and investment support institutions (TISIs) from the three East African countries.

The mission kicked off with SITA’s first ever pulses investment promotion seminar in Kanpur, India. Home to the Indian Institute of Pulses Research, Kanpur is a major milling hub for the state of Uttar Pradesh.

The delegation then visited Mumbai where they participated in two investment seminars focusing on pulses& oilseeds; and spices.

The mission ended in Cochin, Kerala, known as the spices capital of the world with a second spices investment seminar. In each city, the investment roundtables provided an opportunity for the East African delegation to introduce Indian businesses to opportunities in the region.

The events also provided opportunities to showcase high-level government and industry support for the development of the agribusiness sectors in their respective countries.

Another focus of the investment promotion mission was to strengthen institutional linkages. In line with this objective, the delegates engaged with four Indian sector associations.

These were the Kanpur Dal Millers Association, the Solvent Extractors Association of India, the All India Spices Exporters Forum and the Indian Spices & Foodstuff Exporters Association.

The delegation visited the Spices Board of India in Cochin, a key institution promoting the development of Indian spices, and toured their quality evaluation laboratory.

The visit exposed the delegation to the best practices of an Indian sector institution, particularly with respect to its engagement of farmers and the private sector.

The delegates also had the opportunity to make field visits to two state-of-the-art processing facilities, allowing them to observe the ‘best-in-class’ technologies employed by Indian businesses.

Textiles and Apparel
SITA participated in the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry (CITI) Global Textiles Conclave held on 27th and 28th November 2018 in New Delhi, India.

SITA Coordinator Mr Govind Venuprasad was a panelist at ‘Disrupting Paradigms, and Reimagining Textiles Supply Chains to Make Them Future Ready.’

Mr Venuprasad presented investment opportunities in the East African textile and apparel sector, particularly highlighting key free trade agreements that support growth of the sector such as, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and Everything But Arms (EBA).

SITA also facilitated the participation of Ms Jolly Sabune, Managing Director of Uganda’s Cotton Development Organization, at the Global Textiles Conclave where she was able to network with Indian textile businesses.

A highlight for Ms Sabune was the opportunity to meet and greet the Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, who attended the conclave as its Chief Guest.

From 18th to 20th January, SITA led a delegation of 14 textile and apparel companies from Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda to the 2nd Global Textile Technology and Engineering Show (GTTES) in Mumbai, India.

Organised by the India International Textile Machinery Exhibition Society (India ITME Society), GTTES showcased the latest technologies utilized by Indian textile manufactures along the textile and apparel value chain.

ITC and ITME used the occasion to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on increasing technology transfers and investment from India into East Africa.

ITME will partner with the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (ECCSA) to launch ITME Africa, a large-scale textiles event to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in February 2020.

Hand-loom: In November of 2018, the first samples of natural dyed yarn and woven fabric were produced by weavers in Bahir Dar for the handloom project in Ethiopia. In addition, first garment sample designs were product and price tested in Bahir Dar and Addis Ababa.

In December 2018, ITC signed a MOU with Industree Foundation, an Indian social enterprise and implementing partner in the handloom project in Ethiopia.

In November 2018, SITA organised a workshop on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) implementation in Nairobi, Kenya. Obtaining HACCP certification is an important milestone for businesses across the agri-business value chain.

As part of its capacity development activities, SITA facilitated the training of 14 companies in HACCP implementation. The HACCP workshop provided a platform for companies to reflect on the steps they have taken toward achieving HACCP certification including changes made to daily operations.

The Uganda Oil Seed Producers and Processors Association (UOSPA) and the Tanzania Sunflower Processors Association (TASUPA) also made presentations on their food safety initiatives.

Spices: Due to SITA’s interventions, in December 2018, four leading Indian spice companies committed to cultivating hybrid chillies in Rwanda. As of January 2019, the seeds have been sown; and chilli cultivation has started in a total of 107 hectares of land, of which seven hectares are being used to grow organic chilli.

A month earlier, in November, SITA supported the participation of a Rwandan chili oil producer at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) 2018 held in Shanghai, which resulted in a business deal worth $1.5 million for the company to export chilli oil to China.

Pulses & Oilseeds: SITA facilitated the participation of Indian and East African agribusinesses at the 8th EPOSPEA International Conference on Pulses and Oilseeds held in Addis Ababa from 23rd-24th November 2018.

Considered the biggest event on pulses and oilseeds in the region, the conference attracted nearly 500 companies operating across the pulses and oilseeds value-chain.

The SITA-led delegation comprised of 18 representatives from Indian and East African agri-businesses and associations – three from Kenya, three from the United Republic of Tanzania, three from Uganda, and nine from India.

Participants were able to establish key business connections as well as learn about the latest developments in the pulses and oilseeds market.

SITA featured at the Council for Leather Export (CLE)’s Export Awards and Leather conclave held in New Delhi on 29th November. SITA Coordinator Mr Venuprasad made a presentation on ‘Leather sector business opportunities in Africa’.

He spoke about specific opportunities in Africa’s leather sector, pointing to the region’s rapidly growing population which will boost the potential of the continent’s footwear industry, supported by commitments by African governments to add value to their countries’ leather sectors.

In November 2018, SITA supported a follow-up assessment of six tanneries in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya committed to achieving Leather Working Group (LWG) certification.

LWG is a protocol that assesses the environmental compliance of leather manufactures and works toward promoting sustainable business practices within the leather industry.

The assessment has shown that the six tanneries are well on their way toward achieving full compliance with LWG standards in the first half of 2019.

SITA Mitreeki East Africa – India Partnership
Mitreeki began 2019 by kick starting a Fashion Incubator Programme (FIP) in Nairobi in partnership with KikoRomeo, a leading Kenyan lifestyle brand.

Twenty Kenyan businesswomen will participate in the 10-month programme, which will train them in developing business acumen and technical skills, allowing them to benefit from KikoRomeo’s long expertise in mentoring designers and artisans.

Mitreeki initiative is also supporting an incubation programme called the Africa Mosaique Fashion Incubator (AMFI), launched and led by Ms. Anna Getaneh since 2017 which focuses on producing contemporary African designs and providing mentorship to budding designers.

AMFI is a 12-month free (part-time, flexible) program which provides designers with on the job training, skills development and an understanding of the business of fashion.

Digital Operations Centre in Nairobi
On 14 November 2018, India’s DesiCrew and Kenya’s HomeBoyz Foundation signed an MOU to set up a 100-seat Digital Operations Centre in Nairobi, which will provide employment opportunities for disadvantaged Kenyan youth.

The agreement came about after SITA arranged site visits for both organizations to India and Kenya respectively. In September 2018, the HomeBoyz team visited the DesiCrew Digital Operations Centre in rural Karnataka.

They were able to observe DesiCrew’s expertise in running IT-enabled service centres with the goal of stimulating inclusive growth in rural areas of South India. Homeboyz and DesiCrew signed the joint-venture agreement in Nairobi three months later with the intention of replicating DesiCrew’s business model in Kenya.