IOE and IT opens its first African office in Kenya to help support growth of continental trade in Africa

Tue 11 Jul 2023
Posted by: Press Office
IOE News

African continent with borders lit up

The Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) today (11 July) launched its expansion into Africa with the opening of its first office in Nairobi, Kenya.

An event to launch the new facility took place at the Deputy British High Commissioner Josephine Gauld’s residence yesterday (10 July). Gauld attended the event.

Capacity building

Building on the Kenya-UK Economic Partnership Agreement, which was signed in December 2020, IOE&IT has developed and delivered training, education and consultancy services for the entire African continent. These services cover the unique and specific aspects of both Africa’s trade with the rest of the world and intra-continental commerce.

The opening of the office follows the successful delivery of educational courses, with IOE&IT delivering qualifications in Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria.

IOE&IT has worked with the International Trade Centre to deliver these courses, along with the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council and Kenya Export Promotion & Branding Agency.

Digital corridors

In partnership with TradeMark Africa and the IOTA Foundation, IOE&IT has also developed an interoperable, digital supply chain infrastructure: the Trade and Information Pipeline (TLIP).

IOE&IT has successfully led a consortium of experienced technology providers, traders, logistics and supporting partners to test a pilot scheme improve end-to-end supply chain processes within international trade, focusing both on Africa as a whole and Kenya specifically.

This pilot scheme saw shipments of cut flowers, coffee and tea exported from Kenya to the UK as part of the UK government’s Ecosystem of Trust pilots.

The consortium’s goal was not only to deliver successful pilots, but also to subsequently use the learnings to establish clear recommendations for policy, legislative, technological and process changes at the border, allowing the models that had been tested in the pilots to be scaled up.

Speeding up trade

The initiative aims to reduce time wasted in logistics by around 40%, lower the cost of compliance by 20%, and cut process duplications by a further 50% through the simplification and transparency of trade.

The findings from the pilot schemes will be published by the UK government in the coming months.

Key market

The launch of the new office will allow IOE&IT to support its other work within Africa as well as the development of TLIP.

UK exports to Kenya in 2021 were worth £530m, while UK imports from Kenya stood at £579m.

The Ecosystem of Trust pilot aims to increase trade for both sides, to help create greater visibility of supply chains and simplify the facilitation of trade between the UK and Kenya.

The overall aim of the initiative is to reduce logistical time constraints for businesses by around 40%, reducing the cost of compliance by 20%.

Marco Forgione, director general of IOE&IT, said:

“I am excited to open our first office in Kenya, joined by our new Africa-based team members, and later this week we will be celebrating with our most recent Africa graduates.

“It is a testament to the growing role played by the continent of Africa in global trade, and to the innovation that African nations are nurturing, that so many professionals are taking IOE&IT qualifications and accessing our training programmes.

Of course, IOE&IT has always worked to support our members around the world. This new office, our first in Africa, is an exciting development of our growing partnership. I look forward to using all our knowledge, expertise and experience to support Africa’s entrepreneurs grow their intra-Africa and international trade.”

Facing challenges together

He continued:

“The digitalisation of trade and how we produce more sustainable supply chains is a challenge all nations have to face. The work we have done with our partners in Kenya in developing an Ecosystem of Trust pilot will provide valuable insights and place Africa right at the heart of this digital trade revolution.

“We look forward to working even more closely with our partners across Kenya and the African continent.”

Continued commitment

Josephine Gauld, deputy British high commissioner to Kenya and permanent representative to the UN Environment Programme and UN Habitat said:

“The opening of this office in Kenya is another example of the UK and Kenya’s continued commitment to unlocking mutual economic benefits for our countries and our people; which will upskill our workforces and grow our economies.”