Challenges faced by the united states agency for international development in promoting regional and global trade in East Africa
Good intentions to encourage business initiatives are seen in both the private sector and the donor community. However, both sectors need to make sure that they are fulfilling their mandates and commitments to society in order to ensure goals are achieved. Dynamic challenges are an important element to consider in organizations and the solutions to these challenges should be constantly sought out in order to exploit the potential that exists in every trading platform. Mutual relationships between business organizations and donors can lead to eradication of real life challenges that are an impediment to smooth international trade both locally and internationally. The objective of this study was to establish the challenges faced by USAID PATA in encouraging trade regionally and internationally. The study looked at different the concept of international trade, regionalization, global trade and narrowed it down to the East African Community‟s regional trade. Thereafter, the study gave a brief background to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)‟s work through the Power Africa Trade Africa (PATA) initiative in East Africa and through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The study looked at the Uppsala Model and the Innovation – Related Internationalization Model as the theoretical framework. In addition to this, the factors that have generally been found to affect international trade were discussed. The major factors were Tariffs, Subsidies, Import Quotas and Voluntary Export Restraints, Local Content Requirements and Non-tariff Barriers. The study adopted a case study research design and used primary data through an interview guide and analysed the same through content analysis. It was found that the major challenges that USAID PATA faces in East Africa are poor infrastructure, nationalism, non-tariff barriers to trade and exorbitant customs fees challenges. The study showed that USAID PATA provides technical assistance support such as financial models and analysis, governance interventions and operation manuals that include feedback mechanisms. In this way, the donor recipient organizations are able to operate efficiently and gain competitive advantage as they trade in the region and abroad. It was found that USAID PATA cannot achieve its trade objectives on its own without the donor recipient organizations that are involved in actively encouraging the smooth flow of trade within the region and abroad. USAID PATA benefits from the various relationships with ACTIF, Trademark East Africa, Maersk and Mohazo Limited. The study concluded that intentional political will, a change in mind-sets within East Africa to embrace a single customs territory will eradicate the challenges currently being faced by businesses in Kenya and East Africa. This includes all stakeholders working together to eliminate the challenges to trade. If one challenge is tackled in isolation, it shows up in a different form elsewhere within the system. A multi-pronged approach is needed in dealing with the dynamic challenges that come up in order to maximize on short term, easy to reach solutions and engage what may seem to be more complicated, long term solutions to challenges. It was found that the benefits outweigh the challenges in international trade as East Africa opens up to the world. This has been found to result from the mutually beneficial relationship between USAID PATA and various trade organizations with head offices in Kenya.