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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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Trade in borderlands and role and role that cross-border markets can play in increasing Intra-Africa trade

To facilitate cross border trade between Zambia and Malawi and other neighboring countries, COMESA has announced the launch of the construction works of a cross-border market for small-scale cross border traders in Chipata, in the Eastern Province, at the frontier with Malawi. The construction of border markets is particularly important in Africa due to the fact that borders are areas of high intensity of trade, because of an historical reason.

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Free movement of people: can Africa try something different?

An interesting article published on the Brookings Africa Foresight 2024 titled “The whys and hows of the mobility of Africans in Africa” raises the importance for African States to guarantee greater personal mobility across national borders for their citizens, as a condition for the successful implementation of the AfCFTA, and in particular of the Protocols for trade in services and investment, which explicitly require such mobility. The article notes that in Africa there is a lack of enthusiasm for the African Union’s free movement protocol mainly because of the fear, by the wealthiest countries, that masses of economic immigrants from poorer countries will relocate in their territories, in a time when they are already facing social issues, such as poverty and high unemployment. The risk is that such a large influx of low-income people will turn into a "social bomb" capable of causing social welfare systems in these States to collapse.

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AfCFTA private sector database platform now available on the AfCFTA website

The AfCFTA private sector database is a tool developed by the AfCFTA Secretariat to facilitate the matchmaking between African businesses. It aims at promoting business connections, partnerships, and collaborations among African economic operators that are interested to develop partnerships or collaboration opportunities with other commercial entities in the continent. More precisely, the platform collects data on enterprises involved or willing to engage in intra-Africa trade transactions or in other AfCFTA-related activities (ex. investments, skills training or provision of logistics services), by sharing such data with potential business partners who voluntary register on the platform.

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Which complementarity between the AfCFTA and the WTO TFA?

Another policy brief from FERDI concludes that the implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) by African countries could complement the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) plans for boosting inter-Africa trade. The paper summarizes a previous study that analysed cross-border trade efficiency in 162 countries worldwide. These groups were clustered in 6 groups, including one of 43 African countries participating in the AfCFTA (referred to in the study as “Africa”), whose performances were compared with the other groups. It is important to clarify that each of such groups includes different States, with no overlapping presence  in more groups. They are the following:

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AfCFTA Secretariat annual report on the acceleration of the AfCFTA available on-line

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat has made available the annual Report of the Secretary General on the AU theme of the year 2023 “Accelerating the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area”. The report, covering the period from february 2023 to february 2024, provides an overview of the work of the Secretariat during the year under review. It opens with an introduction on the AfCFTA which describes the evolution of the Agreement and the status of trade under the AfCFTA, including the Guided Trade Initiative (GTI), the initiative that aims to test the operational, institutional, and legal environment of the AfCFTA by accompanying the State Parties to the agreement in the preferential exchange of a series of goods for which the relevant rules of origin have been agreed.

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