$16M Logistics and Transport Challenge Fund Launched

A second round of Challenge Fund support for innovators and entrepreneurs working in the logistics and transport sector was this week announced in Kampala.

The Logistics Innovation for Trade (LIFT) Challenge Fund is a USD 16M grant-based financial mechanism that supports innovators with good ideas for products or services that can reduce the costs of transport and logistics in East Africa.

LIFT is to provide grants ranging from USD 150,000 to USD 1M to winning proposals from innovators from across the world whose project ideas will be implemented in the East African Community (EAC).

East Africa is reported to have the highest freight and transport costs in the world; over 50 percent higher than the USA and Europe per kilometre.

This is in addition to high transport costs for landlocked countries as well as long transit times which affect exports significantly.

Successful LIFT projects will contribute to Trade Mark Eeat Africa’s (TMEA) objective of reducing transport time along the main East Africa transport corridors by 15 percent by the end of 2016.

Speaking during the launch a Sheraton Hotel, TMEA Senior Director for Logistics, Abhishek Sharma, said, “It is our hope that the entrepreneurs and innovators of the EAC will drive forward development through the adoption or introduction of ‘best practice’ technologies in the transport and logistics sector, enabling local businesses to compete favourably in the increasingly global economy.”

Sharma noted that the initiative is a valuable financial instrument that will support the private sector and test new ideas that should reduce the cost and time of transport and logistics in the EAC.

LIFT Challenge Fund Manager, David Mitchell said the challenge fund is important to local entrepreneurs given the financial support they need to grow their businesses.

The LIFT Challenge Fund is open to businesses and individuals throughout the world that are either presently operating or intend to be based in the EAC.

TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) is a not-for-profit organisation funded by a range of development agencies with the aim of growing prosperity in East Africa through trade.

It works towards increasing physical access to markets, enhancing trade environment and improving business competitiveness.

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