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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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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”.


Snapshot of African transport Infrastructure shows more shadows than lights

The State of Africa’s Infrastructure Report 2024 published by the Africa Finance Corporation is the first edition of a series of annual studies on the situation of Africa’s infrastructure which aims at assessing progress in the continent’s infrastructure landscape, spotlighting critical gaps and offering new insights into the core sectors of power, transport, logistics, digital communications, and commodity-based value chains. In fact, investments in these areas are crucial for driving the structural transformation of African economies, promote sustainable growth, empower people across the continent, and finally put Africa on a path to overcome the vicious cycle of boom-bust economies affected by volatility in global commodity prices. Unfortunately, in this regard, results achieved are not so exciting.


Uganda signs IGAD Protocol on Free Movement of Persons

Despite the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is one of the Regional Economic Communities (REC) in Africa that has made the less progress in establishing a Free Trade Area (FTA) as provided for article 6 of the Treaty of Abuja on the establishment of the African Economic Community (to date, such an FTA has not yet established among the IGAD eight member States), a notable achievement of this Community is the conclusion of the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons. According to its Article 38, the Protocol enters into force sixty days after a deposit of the fourth instrument of ratification or accession with the Executive Secretary of IGAD. So far, no country has ratified the Protocol, a process that could take time (the IGAD communique wrongly announces the ratification of the Protocol by Uganda).


Debt dynamics and sustainability in Africa: why the continent is borrowing more from private creditors?

A new report published by AfreximBank examines recent debt dynamics and debt sustainability in African countries. The document notes that debt levels have grown significantly in the past 15 years, with the cost of borrowing that has progressively increased for African countries. African countries not only borrow more, but have also changed the composition of their debt.


Tripartite FTA gains traction

Malawi has ratified the Tripartite Free Trade Agreement (TFTA), bringing the total number of states that have done so to 12. The pace of ratification of the TFTA has been slow so far, but the agreement is close now to enter into force. To this end, a minimum threshold of 14 ratifications is needed. Countries that have ratified the Tripartite are Egypt, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Eswatini, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi. The next country that is expected to ratify the agreement is Tanzania, since government authorities have reported one year ago to have initiated the ratification process.


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