Meeting Malaba’s Cross-Border Traders

Meeting Malaba’s Cross-Border Traders

Another day, another border. Yesterday we visited Malaba border crossing and met with women and men cross-border traders. As in Busia the traders here face similar challenges – rampant corruption and harassment and opaque and unharmonised policies. As their number one challenge the traders named the information gap they face in terms of understanding customs procedures and their rights as EAC traders. They also lack market information which makes them vulnerable to exploitation by middlemen. Their excitement about the Sauti platform was tangible and the traders were especially grateful to be consulted and involved in its development from the start […]

Read more »
Meeting Busia’s Cross-Border Traders

Meeting Busia’s Cross-Border Traders

Great meeting today with women traders in Busia border crossing. The women spoke of the numerous challenges they face when trading across borders, from corruption and lack of information on border procedures to harassment and gender-based violence. They also gave us invaluable feedback on our platform and how we can tailor it to their specific information needs. They are excited about our pilot and can’t wait to start using our mobile application. In the words of one trader we interviewed today “information is power – when traders are informed about their obligations and rights they feel empowered to stand up […]

Read more »
Sauti’s Commitment to Local Partnerships

Sauti’s Commitment to Local Partnerships

Sauti’s work is driven by strong partnerships and engagement with government, the private sector and civil society:

Our pilot is implemented jointly by Sauti and the Eastern African Sub Regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI). Our partnership builds on EASSI existing work to date at key EAC borders, where with the assistance of donors such as DFID and TMEA, they have set up associations for women cross-border traders, trained women traders on EAC provisions and entrepreneurship skills, and set up Resource Centres where traders can seek guidance. Our platform builds on these existing projects and adopts key lessons […]

Read more »
The Simplified Trade Regime in the EAC and Challenges to Cross-border Traders

The Simplified Trade Regime in the EAC and Challenges to Cross-border Traders

Under the EAC Customs Union, the Simplified Trade Regime (STR) is a special provision aimed specifically at small traders who regularly transact in low value consignments. An approved simplified certificate of origin (SCOO) exempts consignments of goods that: a) originate in the EAC and b) are valued at under US$ 2,000 from payment of import duty in the EAC destination country. However most traders lack sufficient knowledge about the rights provided under the protocols and how these provisions are applied, the obligatory customs procedures and documentation.

This information asymmetry makes small traders vulnerable to harassment and corruption, including excessive charges, bribe […]

Read more »
Welcome to the Sauti Newsletter!

Welcome to the Sauti Newsletter!

Sauti, meaning voice in Swahili, is a mobile-based trade information and social accountability platform for SMEs engaged in cross-border trade in the East African Community. We want to secure economic justice for traders by empowering them with information on trade procedures, documentation and taxes and enabling them to rate their border experience and report any incidents of corruption and harassment. Through the generous support of the D-Prize Challenge and the London School of Economics, we are now piloting our platform at the Busia and Malaba border crossings, with the goal of servicing the whole East African Community within 2 years.

The purpose of this […]

Read more »
What Challenges do Traders Face when Crossing Borders?

What Challenges do Traders Face when Crossing Borders?

Meet Wilkister, she is a cross-border trader in the town of Busia . A single mother of two children, Wilkister travels by foot across to Kenya to bring back potatoes and mangoes, which she sells at a local market on the Ugandan side. In her daily trading Wilkister faces a myriad of uncertainties. On good days she will pass through the official border post in 30 minutes, and pay only a small amount of VAT and local municipality taxes, as her Simplified Certificate of Origin (SCOO) will exempt her from tariffs on goods produced in the EAC.

On a bad day, […]

Read more »