Sauti’s trade and market information platforms in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania have been operating since 2017. This report shows user behaviour insights from Sauti’s mobile information platform based on usage between 1 January to 31 March, 2023.

2023 Q1 saw 9,151 new users access all our regional platforms. Our Kenyan platform saw the majority of growth. For any questions about our data please contact

Key Insight

Cross-border trade has decreased in all East African countries with Kenya recording the highest level of decline by 6 percentage points to 19% since our Q4 2022 report

Sauti's New Users Over Q1 2023

Sauti engages several channels of communication to spread awareness of our information platforms throughout the region. For instance, we work with local organizations, such as trade and business associations, to train their members and we also run radio campaigns that focus on the platforms’ benefits to women and rural populations. However, the largest driving force for user acquisition at Sauti is word-of-mouth, where traders and farmers spread the word through their own communities.





New Users, by Country

Users' Language Selection





What do users search for?

Sauti’s information platforms offer a wide selection of relevant and useful information to small-scale traders and farmers. The charts below show the popularity of each information section for each country platform. We often find that the most dynamic information, such as market prices or weather, are the most popular as this information may change on a daily basis.





How do users use market information?

Sauti’s penetration among East Africa’s traders and farmers means that we have a unique insight into how these populations market their goods and earn their livelihoods. By exploring how Sauti’s platform use the market information that is provided by the information, we can develop a complex picture of the prominent value-chains in the region. We explore this data more fully in our Trade Insights report series and in our Trade Insights data portal.

Users' Most Requested Product Categories

The categories below show the top 98 percent of commodity categories requested for each country. The remaining commodity categories with fewer requests are not shown on the graph.

Users' Top Three Requested Products by Country

Commodity price indices help traders and farmers to know whether to respond to price signals by either shifting consumption and trade patterns or respond by increasing production to meet demand. The top three requested commodity prices by country have been displayed below.

  1. Dry Maize (13%)
  2. Beef (12%)
  3. Beans Rosecoco (5%)

(n = 4,722)

  1. Dry Maize (19%)
  2. Soya Beans (7%)
  3. Yellow Beans (6%)

(n = 1,270)

  1. Cow Hide (17%)
  2. Asian Rice (14%)
  3. Anchovies (12%)

(n = 142)

  1. Dry Maize (30%)
  2. Rice (28%)
  3. Beans (25%)

(n = 182)

Users' Requests for Commodity Prices in Cross-Border Markets

Changes in commodity prices at domestic and cross-border markets can be useful indicators of levels of supply and demand and linkages to the trade flows in commodities and services that connect the East African trade environment. The charts below show the searches by users for commodity prices in domestic and cross-border markets.





What currencies do users exchange?

Exchanging currencies in East Africa’s cross-border markets is a key part of buying and selling goods across borders. Importantly, international and local fluctuations in currency rates can significantly influence the profit margins of small-scale traders. The charts below highlight popular conversions conversions among users and give an indication of the balance of cross-border currency flows.

  1. KES ⇒ UGX (25%)
  2. KES ⇒ TZS (15%)
  3. TZS ⇒ KES (11%)

(n = 5,294)

  1. UGX ⇒ KES (32%)
  2. KES ⇒ UGX (31%)
  3. USD ⇒ UGX (12%)

(n = 2,011)

  1. RWF ⇒ USD (24%)
  2. KES ⇒ RWF (19%)
  3. USD ⇒ RWF (12%)

(n = 96)

  1. TZS ⇒ KES (44%)
  2. KES ⇒ TZS (28%)
  3. RWF ⇒ TZS (15%)

(n = 150)

What is the experience of users crossing East Africa's borders?

Lengthy customs procedures, inadequate infrastructure, and corrupt practices can cause delays at border crossings. Traders may experience long queues, inefficient inspections, and demands for bribes, which can also disrupt their operations and increase costs. Below we report the relative frequency of border crossing reports submitted by users at select border locations in East Africa.