The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in partnership with West Blue Consulting, United Parcel Services (UPS), Trade Law Centre (TRALAC) have officially launched the eTradeHubs portal, www.etradehubs.com.
The eTradeHubs portal is a one-stop for Trade Tools, Information & Collaboration which aim to reduce the time and cost of doing business by supporting businesses at all levels of maturity – from the micro enterprise to the multinational.
The portal was virtually launched last week Thursday and has features such as a multi country Tariff and Trade Information Tool and a Duty Calculator.
A first-time trader or existing trader wishing to import raw materials or export finished goods can search on the portal for the specific HS Code, related tariff lines, preferential rates of duties, and regulatory procedures and documents required for that specific item.
The Duty Calculator further provides an estimate of the Customs duty, tax and levies of the destination region or country, to aid in financial and logistical planning.
eTradeHubs also provides a Trade Management Tool. Equipped with accurate trade information, the trader can proceed to transact by generating trade-compliant documentation, manage compliance, workflow and costs – all on the same platform, without the need to visit multiple regulatory agencies, entities, websites and physical offices as was done previously.
The portal currently provides country data of Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and the ECOWAS sub-region, with more countries and sub-regions to be introduced in support of the Digitise 5 million African SMES initiative.
The eTradeHubs, powered by 2 indigenous African technology providers – Global Trade Solution (GTS) and West Blue Consulting – also has a Knowledge Zone, complementing the ICC Centres of Entrepreneurship which will support SMEs and Entrepreneurs, particularly women and youth, to digitise and scale-up by providing access to online training, webinars and workshops.
Support for Women-led SMEs
ICC, UPS, Tralac, and West Blue Consulting through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) announced a partnership to support women-led small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Africa.
The partners will offer capacity building programmes and tools, including co-developed trade and information portals called ‘e-Trade Hubs’; advocate for enabling public policy; and create electronic guidelines to help women entrepreneurs scale-up and digitise their businesses.
Building off the recent launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the partnership will help women-led SMEs expand their operations to new marketplaces in Africa and around the world.
Through establishment of the ‘Women Traders in the AfCFTA’ working group, the partners will collaborate with interest groups, trade associations, and other stakeholders in the region to support women-led SMEs and entrepreneurs in the region.
Secretary General of ICC, John W.H. Denton AO in his remarks said, “The economic, social, and health consequences associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have unequally impacted the lives and livelihoods of women business owners everywhere,”
“We are extremely proud to partner with UPS, Tralac, and West Blue Consulting to level the playing field in Africa and provide women entrepreneurs with the required resources to digitise their businesses. Women-led businesses are the backbone of their local economies – we can’t afford to leave them behind.”
Valentina Mintah, CEO and Founder of West Blue Consulting said: “The adoption of solutions by women in business and trade will ensure benefits such as an increased ability for women to work from home while raising families; improved global market access, employment opportunities and a shift of women from the informal sector to the formal.
“The portal will provide a 24/7 collaborative space where women traders and entrepreneurs in the AfcFTA – and of course their male peers – can connect and access timely and up-to-date information, skills and operational tools offered by various providers,” she added.
Ms. Mintah was delighted to partner with ICC, UPS and TRALAC to provide the needed skills training, trade information and tools via the eTradeHubs portal www.etradehubs.com.
Penny Naas, President of UPS, International Public Affairs & Sustainability said: “Research shows that only 1 out of 5 businesses which export is led by a woman. At UPS, we’re moving our world forward by helping women-run businesses maximise their participation in trade through public-private partnerships which provide policy recommendations and support with knowledge-sharing and building skills.
“Our partnership with the ICC, Tralac and West Blue Consulting will offer exporting workshops for women entrepreneurs, and advocate for enabling environments that pave the way for African women’s success.”
Trudi Hartzenberg, Executive Director-Tralac said: “The adoption of digital trade solutions for the AfCFTA will address many border management challenges that disproportionately impact women traders. Tralac is very pleased to collaborate with ICC, UPS and West Blue Consulting to support digitisation of women’s businesses to enhance their competitiveness in the AfCFTA and global markets”.