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    Matching Africa's Firms with Aid Agencies


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 2/2003

    Donors, international aid agencies and non-governmental organizations spend billions of dollars each year on relief supplies. In the UN system alone, US$ 4.6 billion was spent in 2001 on goods and services, of which nearly 60% was destined for Africa. Yet less than 7% of total UN procurement is supplied from Africa.

    The aid procurement market is complex and difficult to access, but ITC's programme, "Buying for Africa from Africa", is helping change attitudes among buyers and sellers. It has generated over US$ 4 million in additional business for African firms in just over a year.

    "Few people realize that our development dollars go further when we buy for Africa, from Africa," noted Hendrik Roelofsen, Director of ITC's Technical Cooperation Coordination.

    One small import-export company in Durban, South Africa increased business by 50% in the last year as a result of participating in ITC's programme. Rachel Carter, Chief Executive Officer of Southken, said, "We got access to buyers - senior managers of aid agencies we would not have been able to approach. We obtained specific information on what aid agencies needed, as well as insights into competitors' operations. We changed our way of doing business, permanently stocking relief blankets in our warehouse, for example, and registering with 14 aid agencies in the region. This generated new sales to charities, hospitals and other others, and doubled our blanket turnover. We've also expanded our services, due to ITC's company and product profiles directory, which is unique in the region."

    For more information about the programme, contact Catherine Taupiac, ITC Regional Trade Promotion Adviser, at taupiac@intracen.org