Wednesday, November 29, 2023
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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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Another step toward the creation of the African continental market: first multi-border customs transit bond issued in Zambia

In 2019, the African Export-Import Bank (AfreximBank) launched the idea of a continental transit guarantee system able to cover the risk of loss of import duties for customs authorities in the event that goods moving under a transit procedure and crossing the territory of more African countries, are diverted while in transit. The project, called AfreximBank African Collaborative Transit Guarantee Scheme(AACTGS), aims at promoting intra-African trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), by facilitating the movement of goods across the continent through the replacement of the multiple national bonds (which are expensive and cause unnecessary delays at the borders), with a more efficient system of regional or continental bonds/guarantees. Because of these objectives, the AACTGS is considered as an AfCFTA-flagship initiative, whose implementation is expected to produce cost savings for African companies of more than 300 million USD per year because of the reduced transit burden.


Limits and constraints of the AfCFTA according to informal traders: a perspective from Ghana

Trade Unions and Trade in Africa, a web platform which is the result of the collaboration between the International Trade Union Conference-Africa (ITUC-Africa), the Labour Research Service (LRS), and the Trade Union Solidarity Centre of Finland (SASK), has published a post on its website which analyses the perceptions of the informal sector in Ghana on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) based on several interviews conducted in the country. Despite the general optimism about the potential of the Agreement to unlock trade in the continent and increase the wellbeing of Africans, the post reveals that after more than 4 years from the entry into force of the AfCFTA, the informal sector in the country is still little aware of this agreement and of its advantages... and probably the situation is not much different in other African States.


Supply chain finance urgently needed for the development of Africa

Recently, the World Trade Organization (WTO) raised on several occasions the problem of Africa's trade finance gap, indicating it as a major constraint to African industrialization and to the export development of companies in the continent. The latest WTO Annual Report reminded that the trade finance market in Africa barely covers 40 percent of total merchandise exports and imports (which is almost half of the global average), while a precedent report dated October 2022, made in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), found that trade expansion in four West African economies (Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal) was severely constrained by the limited and costly access to finance by local firms, noting that the cost incurred by West African companies for obtaining bank funding to cover their trade operations is disproportionately higher than in other regions in the continent.


AfCFTA to promote growth and foster trade integration in Africa but additional reforms are needed, IMF warns

The last Regional Outlook of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) acknowledges that 2023 has been a difficult year in sub-Saharan African economies, particularly because ot the inflationary shock that has followed the Russia’s war in Ukraine. As a result, growth in 2023 is expected to fall for the second year in a row to 3.3 percent from 4.0 percent of 2022. Estimating the growth of the sub-Saharan Africa economy is similar to a lottery, due to the many variables that condition such a growth, like a possible slowdown in reform efforts by African countries, a rise in political instability, or external downside risks (including from China slowing down). Nonetheless, according to the IMF, this region should rebound next year of about 4.0 percent, with strong performances especially by non-resource intensive countries such as Rwanda, Cote d’Ivoire or Ethiopia, that should growth respectively of 7, 6.6 and 6.2 percent. However, here is the trick...


An analysis from WTO on how preferential rules of origin can expand (or restrict) trade of less developed countries

The WTO Sub-Committee on LDCs, the body mandated to analyse systemic issues of interest to LDCs in the multilateral trading system, explored the role of preferential rules of origin in increasing trading opportunities for least-developed countries (LDCs) in a workshop held on 5 October. Representatives from the private sector and academia also participated to the discussions highlighting the challenges and opportunities LDCs (most of which are in Africa), face in taking advantage of trade preferences.


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