Southern Africa—Trade and Investment Hub

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2016-2021

Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

Country: Regional

Solutions: Economic Growth

The U.S. Agency for International Development-funded Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub (the Hub) engages with partners across Southern Africa to deepen regional economic integration, promote two-way trade with the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, and attract investment that drives commercial expansion within the region and to global markets.

The Hub works closely with regional governments and the Southern African Development Community on trade policy. It also engages with private and public sector organizations, business and industry associations, and international development agencies and financial institutions. A prominent feature of the current Southern African Trade and Investment Hub is its focus on finance and investment to increase U.S. business access and investment in the region.

Building a vibrant, broad-based, and export-oriented private sector; encouraging the diversification of exports beyond natural resources; and promoting a business environment that is conducive to trade fosters resilience among Southern African economies and fuels demand for U.S. goods and services. The Hub implements activities in four critical areas: finance and investment, enabling environment/trade facilitation, export competitiveness, and agribusiness.

The Hub is based in Pretoria, South Africa, and Gaborone, Botswana, with resident advisors in Malawi and Zambia. The program works with eight Southern Africa Development Community member states: Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zambia. The Hub is also exploring potential activities in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Zimbabwe.

Sample Activities

  • Commercialize agribusiness and consumer goods value chains to compete in regional and global markets.
  • Use evidence and strategic communications to advocate for regional and national governments to increase regional trade and integration.
  • Facilitate increased foreign and national investments and access to finance throughout Southern Africa, with an eye toward increasing exports and trade.
  • Leverage DAI’s unique position as implementer of the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub, the Feed the Future Southern Africa Seed Trade Project, and the FoodTrade East and Southern Africa initiative to enhance the Hub’s impact and advance the vision of an integrated and prosperous Africa.
  • Empower local champions and institutions—especially the private sector—to lead value chain competitiveness and regional integration initiatives.
  • Integrate gender considerations throughout to maximize women entrepreneurs’ engagement and competitiveness.

Select Results

  • Finalized a €30 million loan from the European Investment Bank to the National Bank of Malawi to build commodities warehouses.
  • Collaborated with Cargill to develop a market information system in Zambia conveying spot and future grain prices benchmarked against South Africa’s Grain Information Service.
  • Partnered with the U.S. Produce Marketing Association to establish new buyer networks and identify investment opportunities in fresh produce markets in Swaziland and Zambia.
  • Linked more than 200 Southern African textile, apparel, accessory, and specialty food companies from Southern Africa to the United States and international markets via global trading platforms, including Fancy Food (New York), MAGIC (Las Vegas), and Gulf Foods (Dubai).


East and Southern Africa—FoodTrade ESA

From 2013 to 2018, FoodTrade worked at improving the functioning of national and regional staple food market systems for beans, maize, rice, and soybeans—crops that are critical for low-income consumers and smallholder farmers—across nine countries in East Africa.

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