Wednesday, September 23, 2020
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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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Trends and challenges for regional integration in Africa

The African Regional Integration Report (2019) is the first edition of a series of yearly reports of the African Union Commission that provides a comprehensive review of the status of integration and of innovative policies for accelerating the ongoing regional integration process in Africa, describing projects, initiatives and best practices developed within each of the eight Regional Economic Communities (RECs) officially recognised by the African Union (Arab Maghreb Union/UMA; Community of Sahel-Saharan States/CEN-SAD; Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa/COMESA; East African Community/EAC; Economic Community of Central African States/ECCAS;  Economic Community of West African States/ECOWAS; Intergovernmental Authority on Development/IGAD; and Southern African Development Community/SADC), and analysing the main obstacles to a closer regional integration among African economies, as a crucial driver for the realization of Africa’s development agenda.

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Informal trade in Africa hit by COVID-19 harder than other sectors

A new article published on the UNCTAD website analyses the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic on women small-scale and informal cross-border traders in Africa.

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Leveraging trade facilitation to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic

During the COVID-19 crisis, trade is proceeding at a slower pace. The pandemic has spotlighted border agencies' challenge to safeguarding public health while avoiding disruptions to the free movement of goods. These agencies are undertaking unprecedented measures to speed up import, export and transit of goods, in many cases by extending their working times, suspending certification procedures or mitigating Customs investigations, foreign exchange inspections and origin verification, in order to avoid disruption of ongoing procedures. At the same time, they must cope with recent restrictive measures to trade whilst preserving trade flows and supply chains. On the other hand, traders must cope with the proliferation of export restrictions through new controls and license requirements, especially on medical devices. As a result, border posts are crowded, controls have multiplied, and truck queues are getting longer. A new paper from UNCTAD presents the main trade facilitation solutions, supported by country cases, that can address the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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COMESA launches study to revise the Simplified Trade Regime (STR)

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has allocated part of its budget for the year 2020 to the review of the current threshold of the Simplified Trade Regime (STR). To this end, an invitation to submit Expression of Interest (EOI) has been published on its website.

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Document dematerialization to reduce the COVID-19 transmission risks ‎

So far, the actions adopted by governments worldwide to curb the COVID-19 diffusion have severely affected international trade, provoking shutdowns and disruptions to the global supply (the Institute for Supply Management, in a survey dated March 10 2020, with respondents largely representing U.S. manufacturing, points out that nearly 75 percent of companies report supply chain disruptions in some capacity due to coronavirus-related transportation restrictions), interrupting many manufacturing activities and shipments. However, keeping goods moving across borders is essential to the economic growth and to mitigate the immediate and longer-term socio-economic consequences of the crisis.

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