In Southern Africa, trade costs as high as double the global average significantly constrain trade-based growth, limit product diversification and increase the price of goods, including food. To reduce the time and costs of importing and exporting, the Trade Hub is promoting several modern trade facilitation tools and assisting in their adoption.
Despite abundant renewable energy resources in Southern Africa such as solar, small hydro, biomass, wind geothemal and biofuels, clean energy streams have yet to be fully developed in the region. Currently, clean energy sources contribute less than 1% to the total energy mix. The Trade Hub is promoting greater private sector participation in clean energy generation by helping to strengthen regional capacity for regulating the clean energy sector by working with the Regional Electricity Regulators Association of Southern Africa (RERA), national energy regulators and government departments of energy, particularly in Zambia and Swaziland.
The Trade Hub’s agricultural activities are driven by USAID’s Feed the Future Strategy and focus on intra-regional trade in targeted value chains: maize, soybeans and groundnuts. Primary support is directed to the Feed the Future focal countries within the region (Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia) with special emphasis on encouraging investment and technology transfer from South African organizations in line with USAID’s Strategic Partnership with South Africa. The Trade Hub supports initiatives that improve trade in targeted agricultural commodities and improve food security.
The Trade Hub’s Enabling Environment component supports a business climate that facilitates local and foreign investment in the Southern Africa region. The component also ensures gender integration and environmental compliance in all Trade Hub activities.
To strengthen Southern Africa’s textiles and apparel industries, the Trade Hub sponsors the annual high-profile Source Africa trade show in Cape Town, South Africa. The Trade Hub is also working with regional garment associations to capitalize on underutilized manufacturing capacities in the region.