Sunday, June 26, 2022
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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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Ethiopia set to open the banking sector to increase inflow of foreign currency

The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) is currently revising the Banking Business Proclamation in order to allow foreign banks to operate in Ethiopia in the hope that this will reduce the permanent foreign currency shortage in the country, which is one of the main challenges faced by the business community in Ethiopia, that affects the day-to-day economic operations of importers, as they can wait even more than one year in order to get foreign currency from an Ethiopian bank so that they can pay their foreign suppliers.


Kenya introduces tariff quota on maize to curb inflation and cushion local consumers against soaring prices

With the Gazette Notice No. 5544 published in the Kenya Gazette No.93 of 20 May, 2022, the National Treasury and Planning of Kenya notifies the opening of a tariff quota of 540,000 metric tonnes of maize grain that will be admitted for import in the country without application of any customs duty until exhaustion of the quota. The measure has been adopted to curb inflation in the country and for cushioning local consumers against the soaring prices of maize, that have skyrocketed since the beginning of the Ukraine-Russia war. Kenya is not the only country that has introduced such a measure. A few days ago also Mexico announced the waiver of import duties for one year on a range of household staples, most of them foodstuffs, including wheat flour and white corn.


Border Management Information Systems to facilitate the movement of travellers at land borders

The recently published Africa Migration Report of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) analyses the phenomenon of migration in Africa, offering (among others) an overview of the main obstacles to the free movement of persons and goods at land borders. One of the main challenges that immigration authorities face at these sites, the report observes, is the effective management of travelers’ data. Despite the fact that nowadays, Border Management Information Systems (BMIS) have been rolled out in most African countries, their use is still not possible at certain border posts, especially those located in remote areas, where the lack of power and of IT connectivity impedes the exchange of data with the Immigration headquarters, with the consequence that all controls on the movement of persons at these sites are conducted manually.


The new rush to Africa

Often dubbed as the last frontier for development in the global economy, Africa is nowadays at the centre of an increasing interest by other countries and trade blocks that are competing with each other in a race to expand and deepen their sphere of influence and their relationship with the continent. Bilateral Summits and Business Fora are being organized more and more frequently by foreign countries to promote cooperation and discuss new investment and project opportunities in a continent that is expected to grow more than any other regional areas in the world in the forthcoming years. Undoubtedly, the recent launch of the African Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has acted as a catalyst in growing such interest.


AfCFTA e-tariff book, what’s the state of play?

In January 2022, the AfCFTA Secretariat announced the imminent release of an AfCFTA Tariff Book inclusive of Rules of Origin with the customs procedures applicable to each product traded under the AfCFTA. This was followed, on February 15, 2022, by an MOU that was signed by the AfCFTA Secretariat with the World Customs Organisation (WCO) to strengthen the organisational capacity, transparency and effectiveness of African Customs administrations, which included an engagement to provide support in populating the AfCFTA Tariff Book. On 27 January 2022, during a virtual meeting held by representatives of the World Customs Organisation (WCO), the AfCFTA Secretariat and the EU Commission on the review of the state of play in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the Head of Customs Cooperation, Trade Facilitation and Transit at the AfCFTA Secretariat announced that the AfCFTA tariff book will be in practice an “e-tariff book”, i.e., a web-based digital tariff platform which will include the tariff offers submitted by AfCFTA signatories, with the tariff rates applicable for each product traded under the AfCFTA agreement, that will be made available to anyone in a user-friendly and easily accessible manner.


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