DFID’s trade development work in Southern Africa

We found serious deficiencies in the TradeMark Southern Africa (TMSA) programme, which was subsequently closed down by the Secretary of State.

Score: Red
  1. Status: Completed
  2. Published: 6 December 2013
  3. Type: Other
  4. Subject: Trade and economic development
  5. Assessment: Red
  6. Location: Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia
  7. Lead commissioner: Graham Ward CBE

Read the report


We found serious deficiencies in the TradeMark Southern Africa (TMSA) programme, which was subsequently closed down by the Secretary of State. As a result of our findings, we have given a rating of red.


The Department for International Development’s (DFID) trade programmes are potentially transformational but we found serious deficiencies in TradeMark Southern Africa (TMSA), which have impeded its progress to date and jeopardized its potential to generate a meaningful impact for the people living in poverty in the region. The shortcomings that we found included serious deficiencies in governance; financial management; procurement; value for money; transparency of spending; delivery and impact, as well as a failure to use DFID’s body of knowledge in trade and poverty.

Due to the seriousness of these findings, we alerted DFID to these issues as soon as our initial fieldwork was completed in May 2013. As a result of this, DFID’s Internal Audit Department carried out a review which verified a number of our findings and also discovered a payment made to the Government of Zimbabwe in contravention of UK policy.

On 4 December 2013, the Secretary of State for International Development, as a result of our report and the subsequent evidence from DFID’s Internal Audit Department, announced the closure of the TradeMark Southern Africa programme.


Recommendations 1 and 2 are designed to address the serious implementation issues which must be dealt with immediately. The remaining recommendations seek to improve the effectiveness and value for money of any future programme.

  1. DFID should continue to take swift action , as it started to do when we raised our concerns, to ensure effective management of TMSA, including financial oversight, procurement, target setting and monitoring.
  2. DFID should urgently work to raise awareness of the results of TMSA’s recent economic modelling to countries of the Tripartite, undertake further analysis and support poorer countries to address the potential negative impacts of trade growth.
  3. If DFID decides to continue with its support to regional integration in Southern Africa, it should identify a more suitable mechanism to deliver technical assistance to the Tripartite, with a focus on accelerating progress and drawing, as appropriate, on international expertise.
  4. As a prerequisite of any future trade development programme, DFID should undertake comprehensive analysis of the impact on trade and the poor both at the outset and throughout implementation; and build in mitigating actions to alleviate any negative effects.


Read the news story

Read our statement following the closure of TradeMark Southern Africa


Review publication

Published 6 December 2013

Government response

Published 13 January 2014

ICAI follow-up

Published 18 June 2015