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Desiderio Consultants Ltd. is a think tank and a network of independent professional international development consultants established to promote and influence customs & trade-related policies in African nations to achieve trade facilitation reforms aimed at improving international and regional trade
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Afreximbank’s 2024 African Trade and Economic Outlook shows encouraging intra-African trade growth of 3.2 percent in 2023

“A Resilient Africa: Delivering Growth in a Turbulent World” is the theme of the Afreximbank’s 2024 African Trade and Economic Outlook. The Report provides in-depth analysis of the current global and African macroeconomic environment, trade patterns, and sovereign debt sustainability dynamics, as the basis for trade and economic projections for 2025. Through the examination of historical trends, existing and emerging risks, as well as opportunities, the report seeks to foster a deeper understanding of the factors driving Africa's economic performance and trade patterns, with a view to informing policy design. It also analyses the impact that the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and other initiatives critical to accelerating industrialization and promoting sustainable growth across the continent will have on African trade.


Can a single market exist within a system of polycentric fragmentation of powers?

An interesting paper published in the last edition of the Revue Africaine Des Réflexions Juridiques et Politiques offers a reinterpretation of the concept of “sovereignty” of African States in the context of the regional integration experiences that the continent has experienced so far. It argues that for the African Continental Fee Trade Area (AfCFTA) to be successful, it will be necessary that member States raise their cooperation efforts by accepting the transferal of portions of their sovereignty to the AfCFTA organs.


AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative: an evaluation of early experiences

A publication made recently available by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Institute on its website analyses the results of the Guided Trade Initiative (GTI) based on empirical data gathered from the experiences of participating State Parties and companies. The study documents and provides information on how the GTI evolved, the practical challenges faced by various African States in its implementation and the successes achieved. The purpose is to drew lessons and recommend solutions aimed at facilitating countries that are currently joining the initiative.


African States’ cautious approach to AfCFTA implementation could lead to longer time to realize its objectives

A recent article published on FDI Intelligence argues that the slow implementation of the AfCFTA by African countries, combined with persisting challenges like infrastructure gaps and access to finance, are stumbling blocks to the achievement of an African Single Market. On 30 May 2024, the AfCFTA agreement reached five years since its entry into force. Although trade officially commenced under the AfCFTA framework only in January 2021, it is being slowly implemented in phases, with a first important step represented by the AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative (GTI), a pilot project aimed at testing the institutional and procedural framework within which the AfCFTA preferential trade transactions are conducted. Despite African countries have committed to remove tariffs for 90% of products, most of them have not incorporated the AfCFTA preferential tariff rates into their national tariff schedules, which is an essential condition for them to trade under the AfCFTA preferences. According to the International Trade Centre (ITC), a multilateral UN agency dedicated to support trade-led economic growth in developing countries, the full impact of the AfCFTA remains to be seen because African countries are proceeding cautiously with its implementation. The ultimate goal to be the world’s largest operating free trade area for a continent of 1.3 billion people is still far away, the article concludes.


Single African Market creation faces the reality of huge volume of smuggling and illicit trade in the continent

Reading the data of the World Wildlife Crime Report 2024 of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), one can understand why border controls in Africa are so tight and barriers to trade so high. Sub-Saharan Africa is the paradise of illicit trade, a trade that national States try to crush through strict and some time invasive controls at borders. Only wildlife materials account for 19 percent share of seizures worldwide, putting the continent on the top of the list of the regions where this kind of illicit trafficking is more common. But illicit trade in Africa, and especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, is not limited to wildlife. The UNODC report depicts a worrying scenario where illegal firearms, drugs, smuggled gold, meat, counterfeit medications and even cash trafficking are widespread, with organized criminal networks that thrive from profits derived from these businesses. Commenting the results of an operation on illegal trafficking that covered eight African countries, the report concludes that such convergence of criminal interests in different illicit trade sectors “is an area of increasing research and concern”.


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