The East African Business Council (EABC) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) have launched My East African Soko or Myeasoko www.myeasoko.com, an online platform designed to improve the competitiveness of East African small businesses.
The platform helps small businesses in the region recover from the economic effects and drives growth through the use of digital technologies.
Traders and service providers from all over the region can use the platform’s web portal or mobile app to access business information, market their products online, attract international buyers, and expand their trade opportunities.
The International Trade Centre’s Pamela Coke-Hamilton said at the launch event that “My East African Soko will re-introduce small businesses into global marketplaces, enable them to join regional value chains, and give them the opportunity to scale up.”
An integrated e-marketplace, a business listings portal, and a training academy are among the additional services. Small businesses will also have access to cross-border trade information, documents related to the African Continental Free Trade Area, and procedures for pre-selected goods shipments to any of the countries identified under the Guided Trade Initiative.
The integrated mobile app notification system ensures continued interaction between small businesses and EABC for efficient last mile delivery, online payment, tracking product delivery, and 24hr customer support via an integrated chat support system and social media.
According to John Bosco Kalisa, executive director of the East African Business Council, “the EAC has leveraged digital technologies and developed www.myeasoko.com to support the EAC’s economic recovery, build resilience, and drive future growth for small businesses, particularly for youth and women.” Small businesses support entrepreneurship and innovation, maintain economic expansion, and employ 60% of the labour force in the EAC.
Myeasoko bolsters the International Trade Centre’s emphasis on digitization and collaboration with business support organisations that assist African women entrepreneurs and youth through intra-African trade. EABC created the platform in collaboration with the International Trade Centre’s corporate programme One Trade Africa.