TradeMark East Africa Challenge Fund

Aimed at boosting economic growth and regional trade in the East African Community (EAC) and the region’s trade with the rest of the world through innovative projects.


TRAC was a $7m fund designed to challenge businesses, private sector organisations and civil society organisations from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda to develop innovative ideas aimed at promoting cross-border trade in East Africa. Firms and civil society organisations submitted projects for matching co-funding in 3 main areas:

  • business innovation that increases trade
  • innovation in services that enables cross-border trade
  • innovative ways of gathering evidence and mo-bilising public opinion

What the fund was designed to achieve:

TRAC was looking for projects that would:

  • develop new, unproven models for researching and communicating the benefits of regional integration, with the potential to be sustainable and replicable
  • innovative (meaning they involve new products, services, marketing ap-proaches, business models, etc)
  • deliver sizeable benefits to a significant number of the poor in the EAC
  • have the potential for impact beyond the project, through replication or chang-ing the way the research, advocacy and communication occurs related to re-gional integration
  • identify how the evidence-based research transport and logistics will influence
    • policy formulation
    • open the space for policy dialogue
    • build capacity of policy makers to address key issues
    • broaden public understanding of the roles of PSOs and CSOs to fully engage in debates about reform in EAC
  • demonstrate appropriateness and matching with expected results


TRAC was based in Nairobi and had representatives in Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. It was open to proposals from all EAC nations. Innovative projects, proposed by private firms which had the potential to boost cross-border and international trade were eligible for funding. Projects that also benefited a large number of people and promoted climate resilience and environment sustainability were given preference. Women owned or managed businesses were also particularly encouraged to apply.


Published 22 February 2016