The 3rd Global Logistics Convention kicked off on Thursday with a US$3.5 million deal signed between Trade Mark East Africa and the Federation of East Africa’s Freight Forwarders Association (FEAFFA), to raise capacity in East Africa’s logistics sector.
The four-year “EAC Logistics Sector Skills Enhancement Program” funded by USAID through TradeMark East Africa, and implemented by FEAFFA; will address existing skills gaps in the region that have since resulted into high costs of doing business within the community.
The program will help build skills of customs agents, freight forwarders and warehouse operators.
TradeMark East Africa’s Director, Patricia Ithau and FEAFFA President Fred Seka signed the agreement.
After the signing, Seka said the funding will facilitate introduction of a higher-level qualification that will build on the success of the certificate program, such as exposing practitioners to global practices and position them as global logisticians.
Meanwhile, Ithau encouraged logistics stakeholders and governments to adopt and institutionalize policies that make the industry conducive for women.
“The gender gap is still prevalent in the logistics sector. Women make up only 20% and are rarely in the upper echelons of the businesses that employ them,” she said.
“Logistics sector in East Africa is a leading employer and accounts for over $15 billion in value. Yet, discussions on the sector have not been prioritized.”
The Global Logistics Convention is an annual freight logistics event organized by FEAFFA and the Rwanda Transporters Association, in collaboration with various government agencies and the private sector federation (PSF).
Previously, similar conventions were held successfully in Uganda and Tanzania.
Michel Minega Sebera, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MINICOM), in his opening remarks, emphasized the fact that this 3rdedition of the convention “is a key milestone towards establishing mechanisms that will continue to support easy doing business and the strengthening of the East African Community logistics industry.”
“This convention will offer a unique opportunity to professionals in the transport and freight logistics sectors from all over the world while sharing best practices, with transporters and logistics policy makers,” he said.