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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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Which progress in visa openness in Africa to ease cross border travel, trade, investment and regional integration?

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has published on 12 December 2023 the Africa Visa Openness Index 2023, the report that analyses the visa openness policies that African countries adopt towards other African States. The seventh edition of the report reveals significant progress, showing an increasing number of African countries that have opened their doors, at least apparently, to visitors from other African countries. The publication comes on the day of celebration of the birth of the Kenya Republic, during which the Kenyan President announced the elimination of visa from all countries (both African and non-African), starting from 1 January 2024. A measure this, that is expected to increase tourism in Kenya.

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UN Global Report for Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation shows African countries are doing well on trade facilitation

The Global Report for Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation is an annual report published by the United Nations that analyses the progress in facilitating trade and on digital trade in 163 countries from different regions of the world. The report recognizes the critical role that trade facilitation plays in supporting sustainable development, by enabling more efficient and transparent trade procedures, enhancing the resilience of global supply chains and decreasing overall trade costs. The 2023 edition of the report evaluates 60 trade facilitation measures (from the 58 of the 2022 edition), classified into 4 groups: 1) general trade facilitation; 2) digital trade facilitation; 3) sustainable trade facilitation and a residual one (4), called ‘other trade facilitation’. Each of such groups is further categorized into 11 subgroups covering both binding and non-binding measures embedded in the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), as well as measures that go beyond the scope of the WTO TFA. The subgroups, in turn, are categorized in individual measures (ex. publication of existing import-export regulations on the Internet) that in the case of binding measures included in the WTO TFA, show the relevant article of the agreement that regulates the measure (ex., in the case of publication of existing import-export regulations on the Internet, the relevant TFA article is art. 1.2).

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3rd PAFTRAC Africa CEO Trade Survey Report reveals African companies are not receiving enough support to seize AfCFTA's opportunities

On 21 November 2023 there was the virtual launch of the third PAFTRAC Africa CEO Trade Survey Report. Despite the report is not feely available online (it can be however obtained by filling this form), we provide here a summary of the main findings of such report drawn from its official presentation. PAFTRAC is the acronym of Pan-African Private Sector Trade and Investment Committee, an organization that gathers a series of stakeholders from both the public and private sector to deliberate on policy issues, like trade across the continent, so to help to guide the formation of these policies at continental level. PAFTRAC elaborates annual reports where it analyses the perceptions of African Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) about the future economic outlook of Africa. All the editions of the report also make an analysis of the expectations of African businesses regarding the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

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PAPSS for dummies

The Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) is a centralized payment, clearing and settlement system for intra-African trade payments jointly developed by the AfCFTA Secretariat and Afreximbank which has been rolled out end of September 2021. It aims at streamlining and securing money flows across African borders by simplifying transactions made by using one of the 42 local currencies that are currently adopted in the continent. The system allows traders to complete these transactions in almost real-time (in less than two minutes) for a low fee. A recently published article explains in simple terms why this system has been developed and what are the advantages for African traders, along with its challenges. We will try to further simplify its content to explain the main reasons that are at the basis of the functioning of the PAPSS.

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AfCFTA Digital Trade Protocol workshop ongoing in Ethiopia

Today, 6 December 2023, a workshop was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and the AfCFTA Digital Trade Protocol that is under negotiation. The purpose of the workshop was to help businesses in Ethiopia (especially those from the ICT sector) to understand the AfCFTA and the Digital Trade Protocol in particular, so to prepare them to seize the opportunities offered by this regulation to expand their operations to other African markets.

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