Southern Africa—Trade and Investment Hub (USAID TradeHub)

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2016-2022

Region: Sub-Saharan Africa

Country: Regional

Solutions: Economic Growth

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub (USAID TradeHub) engages with partners across the region to increase sustainable economic growth, global export competitiveness, and trade in targeted southern African countries. It supports these objectives by increasing exports from southern African countries to South Africa and the United States (under the [AGOA]), boosting capital and technology flows from South Africa to other southern African countries, and providing targeted trade facilitation support to Zambia. The USAID TradeHub works with market actors to identify and resolve enterprise constraints and to implement sustainable solutions through market-based trade and investment facilitation services.

The USAID TradeHub works closely with regional governments and the Southern African Development Community on trade policy. The USAID TradeHub’s strategy reflects an increased focus on its exit strategy and reorientation from a direct delivery model to a market systems approach. This involves strengthening the ability of market actors with which the USAID TradeHub has been working to date—trade promotion service providers, investment firms, and other financial service providers—to continue to promote trade and investment beyond the life of the Hub.

The USAID TradeHub is based in Pretoria, South Africa, with resident representatives in Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia. The program works with Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Eswatini, and Zambia. The USAID TradeHub is also exploring potential activities in Angola.

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).
  • Facilitated more than $59 million in African intra-regional trade and exports to the United States, including through AGOA.
  • Facilitated $153.2 million in private-sector investment ($94.2 million in agriculture and$59 million in non-agriculture sectors).
  • Facilitated $16 million in agriculture-related finance.
  • Formed 30 public-private partnerships.
  • Created 1,448 new jobs.

How the USAID TradeHub works:



Feed the Future Southern Africa Seed Trade Project (Seed Trade Project)

This project provided technical assistance to help harmonize seed regulations in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which allowed seed trade across the region, thereby integrating smaller and isolated national markets into one larger SADC market for seeds.

Read More