Member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) recognize the importance of intra-regional trade to promote economic growth. Yet constraints remain persistent. These countries report a limited volume and value of intra-regional trade, due to post-harvest losses among food crops, onerous export and import procedures, and bottlenecks at border posts.
Through the Southern Africa Trade Hub (SATH), a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) program, AECOM helped build important foundations to overcome these challenges. AECOM supported SADC member states improve international competitiveness, increase intra-regional trade, and reduce food insecurity throughout Southern Africa.
With a team of local, regional, and international experts based in Gaborone, Botswana, and Pretoria, South Africa, the Trade Hub project helped:
- Reduce the time and cost of transporting goods across borders;
- Strengthen the competitiveness of the grain, soy, and groundnut value chains;
- Increase trade and investment in Southern Africa’s textile and apparel industry;
- Increase capacity for regulating and enhancing the clean energy sector; and
- Improve regional trade and investment through regulatory reform and the harmonization of standards.
The activities helped SADC member states take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a US government act that offers incentives for Africa countries to expand their efforts to open their economies and build free markets, as well as other trade agreements.