Wednesday, December 02, 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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Lack of local manufacturing capacity in Africa in life-saving medical equipment during emergency situations, a proposal to revise the AfCFTA Agreement

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) released on 14 May 2020 a Policy Brief which provides a preliminary analysis, from an African perspective, of the limits of international trade law in times of crisis, and offers policy recommendations for African policy makers to consider. Following a brief analysis of the law of international trade as it applies to the movement of Covid-19-essential goods, the brief concludes that, in times of real emergency such as now, the role of law in assuring access to essential medical supplies on the international market is highly diminished. An example is the export ban of protective equipment and life-saving medical supplies (such as face masks and respirators) recently adopted by Germany also towards the other EU countries, a measure that clearly contradicts the principle of free movement of goods within the EU, one of the main pillars of the EU single market, as highlighted in Article 3(3)(g) and Article 4 of the EC Treaty.

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Predictive analytics and Customs: the DATE model

As part of the BACUDA (Band of Customs Data Analysts) project, the World Customs Organisation (WCO) has developed a neural network model called “Dual-Attentive-Tree-aware-Embedded" (DATE) to assist Customs administrations in better detecting fraud-risky transactions. 

The WCO BACUDA project was launched in September 2019 as a collaborative research platform focused on data analytics. Nigeria Customs are implementing a pilot test to verify its performance at the Tin Can (in Lagos) and Onne (in Port-Harcourt) seaports. The model uses an Artificial Intelligence (AI) module called “ATTENTION” that can detect potential fraudulent transactions more accurately than the other traditional machine learning models, and using less data (such as XGBoost/eXtreme Gradient Boosting, a machine learning model used by many organisations, like insurances, for identifying fraudulent claims by aggregating and analysing historical data on their clients).

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SADC set to launch the electronic Certificate of Origin (eCoO)

The SADC Ministerial Task Force on Regional Economic Integration, at its 16th meeting held in in Gaborone on 13 March 2016, approved the SADC Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP), also known as “Comprehensive Trade Facilitation Program (CTFP), which outlined a harmonised approach to trade facilitation for SADC Members. The SADC TFP covers 28 trade facilitation measures (TFMs) clustered around four pillars: transparency, predictability, simplification, and cooperation, roughly corresponding to the measures contained in the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. One of the TFMs includes the implementation of an electronic certificate of origin (eCoO) for products traded between the SADC countries.

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COMESA announces the adoption of regional trade facilitation guidelines

After the East Africa Community (EAC) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), also COMESA adopted guidelines for ensuring a seamless application of trade facilitation measures in the region during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidelines aim at facilitating the movement of goods and services (particularly essential goods) across the region.

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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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