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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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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.


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.


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.


The WB World Development Indicators, a tool for shaping development strategies of nations worldwide

In analysing the economic performance, monitoring development programs and progress and designing development strategies of nations worldwide - including developing and less developed countries - a particularly useful resource is the World Development Indicators (WDI) of the World Bank. This tool is one of the most authoritative and complete dataset containing statistical information on more than 200 countries and territories worldwide, including data on economy, poverty, education, health, jobs, social protection, gender, environment (use of natural resources, such as water and energy, and various measures of environmental degradation, including pollution, deforestation, and loss of habitat), level of private investment and performance, financial system development, infrastructure, transparency, accountability, and corruption in the public sector, business regulatory environment and public sector policies.


Most common measures adopted by Customs to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on trade

Following the spread of the COVID-19, customs administrations worldwide are adopting a series of measures to minimise the overall impact of the outbreak on economies and societies, by facilitating the international movement of goods, in particular of relief goods. The virus emergency is affecting not only imports, but also exports. Agriculture-based countries of Sub-Saharan Africa for instance, are facing a significant drop in the export of agriculture products (ex. horticulture and floriculture items), due to a massive decrease of their demand and prices on foreign markets. Hereunder is a summary of the most common measures adopted by Customs:


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