Better trade facilitation will create larger intra-African markets
Unlocking intra-African trade
Summary of paper: Trade Facilitation and Economic Transformation in Africa by Joe Amoako-Tuffour (ACET) and Neil Balchin, Linda Calabrese and Maximiliano Mendez-Parra (ODI)
Trade facilitation can stimulate economic transformation in Africa by raising exports, supporting export diversification, reallocating resources to more productive activities, improving access to cheaper and betterquality imported inputs and enabling participation in value chains.
Many African regions have begun to formulate regional approaches to trade facilitation, and there are important examples of particular approaches working well. The introduction of onestop border posts (OSBPs) at Chirundu (on the Zambia–Zimbabwe border) and at the Busia border crossing between Kenya and Uganda have reduced the time and costs involved in moving goods across borders.
The OSBP at Busia has also made it easier for small traders to cross the border, giving them access to a wider market and improving their livelihoods. Similar improvements in border crossing times have been recorded along the Trans Kalahari, Maputo Development and Northern Corridors.
Outside these examples, however, the implementation of trade facilitation agreements has generally been problematic. It remains a challenge to translate the good intentions expressed in Africa’s regional trade agreements into concrete actions towards trade facilitation.
- What more can be done to harmonize regional trade facilitation instruments in cases where countries have overlapping membership in more than one regional economic community?
- What are the remaining political and other impediments to the elimination of the Non-Tariff Barriers hampering trade flows in Africa?
- What can be done to ensure effective implementation of mutually agreed protocols, programs or schemes aimed at promoting intraregional trade in Africa?
- Do governments provide enough space for engagement with the private sector on issues related to trade facilitation?
- Why are African countries not jumping to ratify the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement? Is it a governance problem? Or is it because of a lack of policy coherence?
- How can SADC countries improve coordination in the management of regional transit systems?
- What should be done to address concerns about the potentially adverse effects of trade facilitation on local employment, revenues and the livelihoods of the most vulnerable?
- How can trade facilitation be improved in a way that takes into account the varying levels of commitment to regional integration across EAC member states?
- How can ECOWAS countries become more effective partners in regional development and integration processes?
- What role can the private sector play in regional integration in order to promote economic transformation?
- What are the remaining bottlenecks hampering implementation of the free trade area in the ECCAS region? How can they be addressed?