Safe Trade Zones are under the Safe Trade Emergency Facility, a US$23 million intervention by TradeMark East Africa in the East, Horn, and Southern Africa region in the wake of the debilitating effects of COVID-19 on trade.
TradeMark East Africa with project implementing partner Horn of Africa Voluntary Youth Committee (HAVOYOCO), project donors European Union-IGAD (EU-IGAD) and Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office of the UK (FCDO) have today launched the US$206,000. The guest of honor at the event was Somali Regional State President H.E. Mustife Mohammed accompanied by State Minister for Women and Social Affairs in Ethiopia H.E Alemitu Omuit accompanied by other senior government officials.
The modern physical markets for informal women traders in Ethiopia’s border town has been constructed with key health provisions and features to ensure enhanced safe trading and hygiene in light of the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.
State President H.E. Mustife Mohammed hailed the markets as an innovation anticipated to have a great impact on the women traders. “These markets will ensure an enhanced and safe environment of our women traders to continue with their businesses and retain their livelihoods despite the continuing Covid related interruptions. Informal women traders constitute a significant portion of regional trade across our borders, and it is our government’s policy support them in their work” said H.E. Mustife Mohammed.
State Minister of Women & social Affairs, H.E Alemitu Omuit appreciated all actors who joined hands in the construction of the market and outlined the importance of this market in the realization of women’s empowerment especially for women involved in the cross-border trade, she also put her remark as “with this new market, women can have access to safe working space, knowledge, and skill and learn from one another. The government encourages such innovative activities being implemented in other parts of the country and to be mainstreamed our policies and strategies,” said H.E Alemitu Omuit.
The EU-IGAD/UNOPS representative Mr. Basazinew Terefe underscored the EU commitment to support trade in the region for recovery from pandemic relates challenges.
Safe Trade Zones are under the Safe Trade Emergency Facility, a US$23 million intervention by TradeMark East Africa in the East, Horn, and Southern Africa region in the wake of the debilitating effects of COVID-19 on trade. It supports governments develop and implement a protocol for the establishment and management of safe marketplaces. Similar markets are being implemented in Busia Kenya, Nimule in South Sudan, and Tog-Wajaale in Somaliland.
Tog-Wajaale was selected due to its strategic linkage to the Berbera Corridor and the intervention is anticipated to allow traders business continuity while giving the authorities confidence that traders and the market users are safe and protected.
The Tog-Wajaale Market sits on 600-meter square and consists of 90 stalls for trade designated to provide social distancing of 2.5 meters in accordance with safe trade protocols. The market has been divided into various sections including sections for selling meat, milk, fruit, and vegetables. Other facilities include prayer rooms, breastfeeding centers, cold chain rooms, and handwashing points. Further, chairs for the traders have been provided, as well as steel hangers for various products, water harvesting tanks and milk handling containers are currently under procurement.
TradeMark East Africa Ag. Country Director for Ethiopia Abenet Haile committed that his organization would continue to deliver innovative interventions aimed at promoting sustainable and inclusive trade in the region as a sure way to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of small and medium-sized traders.
“TradeMark’s interventions focus on key critical parts of trade such as hard and soft infrastructure, sustainable and inclusive trade, policy reform, and advocacy. We will continue also to pay special attention on how to support both the SME and the informal sector of trade in Ethiopia so as to grow in scale and to formalize more” said Abenet.
COVID-19 related signage and messaging in line with WHO guidelines and Ministries of Health in Ethiopia and Somaliland have been provided for a continuous supply of electricity to the market will ensure all these features are running without a hitch.
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