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Analysing the impact of TradeMark East Africa

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Jenny Congrave Neil McCulloch Chris Hearle Sebastian Silvaleander David Hoole Alistair Haynes Ramla Attah UK Department for International Development (DFID)

The TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) programme aims to improve trade competitiveness in East Africa by reducing transport time and costs, and improving the trade environment.

We designed an evaluation of the programme to ascertain its impact on trade, inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction, as well as to understand causal pathways and the mechanisms at work.

Our evaluation aims to provide suggestions for improvements to the TMEA programme and inform future regional trade development programmes. By providing evidence on trade and growth, the evaluation will be useful to regional governments in driving policy changes, as well as other multinational organisations.

Challenges

The TMEA programme is based on the belief that enhanced trade contributes to economic growth, a reduction in poverty and subsequently increased prosperity.

This evaluation focuses on analysing pathways and understanding how the TMEA programme has affected people living in poverty, and the ways in which it has contributed to growth.

We designed an impact evaluation that emphasises causality, and looks at possible attributions, and contributions, to outcomes and their impacts.

Our approach

We designed an evaluation, which is split into five coordinated work streams:

  • WS1: Cross-cutting activities and synthesis
  • WS2: Output-level summative evaluation
  • WS3: Evaluation of ports and OSBP projects
  • WS4: Trade and growth impact study
  • WS5: Poverty and gender impact study

Each work stream focuses on a different step along TMEA’s result chain, encompassing design, inputs, outputs, outcomes, and impacts. Together, these will deliver a comprehensive and coherent evaluation of TMEA programme. Our analysis will enable a rigorous assessment of the extent to which TMEA achieved its output, trade outcome and poverty impact objectives.

A final synthesis of all the evaluation findings will combine findings across all the work streams to provide a comprehensive, coherent and definitive answer to all the specified evaluation questions.

Outcomes

Our evaluation has two purposes. First, to identify lessons learnt to help drive and improve the TMEA programme, as well as future regional trade development programmes. Second, the evaluation will account for progress at outcome and impact level in an internationally-recognised independent and impartial manner.

Outside the two core aims, this evaluation will provide valuable evidence on trade and development that will be of interest more broadly. In particular, outputs of the evaluation are likely to attract significant interest from many actors, including the East African Community (EAC), regional governments and institutions, multilateral and bilateral partners, businesses and civil society.

The ultimate beneficiaries are the citizens of partner countries, whose lives should be improved through further, high-quality projects and programmes.