Press releases

New EU-funded initiative to promote trade and investment for East African small businesses

4 October 2023
ITC News

3 October 2023 (Arusha) – The European Union (EU) and the East African Community (EAC) launched the second phase of the EU-EAC Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARKUP II) at a ceremony held in Arusha today.

MARKUP II, a €40 million regional initiative funded by the EU, is set to unlock the full potential of agribusinesses within the EAC.

Implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC) in collaboration with the EAC Secretariat, MARKUP II will strengthen EAC’s small businesses through enhanced regional and international trade in close partnership with the East African Business Council, EAC Partner States, business support organizations and local institutions.

Building on the successes of MARKUP I, this new phase will focus on EAC priority sectors including avocado, cocoa, coffee, essential oils, French beans, gum arabic, horticulture, leather, packaging, spices and tea – with an emphasis on processing, value addition, diversification, investment and export linkages.

A new development in MARKUP II is the inclusion of packaging as a standalone and crosscutting value chain, addressing the unique challenges of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the EAC.

Crucial to the success of MARKUP II will be the continued inclusion of women and youth in trade. A regional Steering Committee chaired by the EAC Secretariat, which will include representation from relevant national ministries, will provide overall direction for the programme.

H. E. Ambassador Christine Grau, Delegation of the EU to Tanzania and the EAC speaking at the ceremony, said: ‘MARKUP II demonstrates the EU’s commitment to supporting East African companies, fostering sustainable growth and creating decent job opportunities.’

Hon. (Dr.) Peter M. Mathuki, Secretary General of the EAC, said MARKUP contributed immensely to value addition through improved coffee processing, coffee cupping certifications, resource efficiency and circular production in the tea and coffee sectors in the region.

‘About 700 enterprises, specifically micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), in the region were supported through MARKUP phase I to improve their business operations and export. International transactions worth more than $10 million were generated and MSMEs accessed finances worth $9 million,’ said Dr. Mathuki.    

Ms. Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director, International Trade Centre, said: ‘We are thrilled to build on the great results of phase one with MARKUP II, working closely with the EU and with our longstanding partner, the East African Community. Our joint efforts to strengthen the region’s agricultural and horticultural sectors will help small businesses become more competitive on the international stage and help deliver on sustainable development priorities for the region and the continent.’

Notable contributions of MARKUP I include significant growth in EAC exports, such as coffee exports to EU markets more than doubling from €488 million in 2018 to €1.1 billion in 2022, and avocado exports growing from €85.5 million to €112.4 million. Additionally, 37,819 small- and medium-sized enterprises participated in this first phase and were empowered to become more competitive on international markets.

In phase one, more than 115 companies achieved a collective $16 million in sales and exports. MARKUP I also helped draw in $1 million in investment for over 70 small businesses. Over 40 business support organizations shared that their work became more effective through their involvement in the programme.

Notes for the Editor

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organization of 7 Partner States: The Republic of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Kenya, the Republic of Rwanda, the Republic of South Sudan, the Republic of Uganda, and the United Republic of Tanzania, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

The Delegation of the European Union to Tanzania and the East African Community is a key actor in the relations between the European Union and Tanzania as well as the East African Community. The EU has set out the Global Gateway, a new European strategy to boost smart, clean and secure links in digital, energy and transport sectors and to strengthen health, education and research systems across the world. Global gateway is implemented jointly under the Team Europe banner, meaning the EU institutions and EU Member States.

The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. For more information, visit

For media inquiries:

Florian Mutabazi

EAC Media Coordinator

East African Community Headquarters

Email: fmutabazi [at]


Kelvin Mutagwaba

Communications Officer

European Union Delegation to Tanzania and EAC

Email: Kelvin.Mutagwaba [at] (Kelvin[dot]Mutagwaba[at]eeas[dot]europa[dot]eu)


Waqas Rafique

Public Information Officer

Division of Country Programmes

International Trade Centre

Email: wrafique [at]