AMKA, Tanzania-export market development services for SMEs
In one of the poorest countries in Africa, AMKA assists small-scale producers to export to markets in rich countries. AMKA selects clients whose operations accord with principles of 'fair trade', thereby aiming to have a greater impact on poorer people. The article points out, however, the tension between reaching poorer producers who require greater levels of assistance, but cannot pay high fees, and achieving sustainability. One possible option is identified: dividing the organization into two and carrying out the more developmental work through a not-for-profit trust, while offering the more profitable services such as brokering through a trading arm. A number of lessons are drawn from AMKA's experience: the need for a good information system to make effective decisions on which services to concentrate upon; the advisability of staying focused on a sector; and the strong sense of ownership within AMKA which has been fostered by participatory relationships with its main stakeholders, Traidcraft Exchange and DFID.