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AGOA Forum: discussions open amidst criticism about the weaponization of the scheme toward African countries

One of the buzzwords in the recent news on African trade perspectives with third countries is: ‘AGOA’. This is because of the yesterday’s opening of the 20th AGOA Forum 2023, hosted from 1 to 4 November in South Africa (the main beneficiary of such programme), where a senior delegation from the United States and 35 Sub-Saharan Africa Trade Ministers will discuss on how to strengthen trade and investment ties. According to Section 105 of Public Law 106-200 that introduced this trade regime, the President of the United States convenes annual high-level meetings between appropriate officials of the United States Government and officials of the governments of sub-Saharan African countries in order to foster close economic ties between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa. These meetings are organized with events called ‘AGOA Forums’.

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New report analyses impact of checkpoints on trade and transport costs in Somalia

A new report published by the Danish Institute for International Studies in partnership with the Rift Valley Institute and XCEPT, analyses the checkpoints on Somali roads that are operated or under the control of both government actors, al-Shabaab armed groups, and other militia in Somalia, focusing in particular on two main trade routes: 1) the Baidoa corridor, a road linking Mogadishu with Kenya and Ethiopia and; 2) the Garissa corridor, a road that connects the port city of Kismayo with the grazing lands of Afmadow (in the southern Somalia, north-west of Kismayo) and north-eastern Kenya.

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From the WCO a guidance on how to optimize exchanges of data and cooperation practices between Customs and Port Authorities

The World Customs Organization (WCO) and the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) jointly released the Guidelines on Cooperation between Customs and Port Authorities on the occasion of the IAPH 2023 World Ports Conference which opened on 31 October in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The Guidelines mainly focus on digitalization of data flows between the two authorities, but also outline methods to institutionalize cooperation, establish a data governance policy and ensure a mutual understanding of each other’s business, given the fact that these two administrations share common areas of responsibility and risks.

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New report shows status of implementation of customs modernization reforms in East and Southern Africa

The World Customs Organization (WCO) East and Southern Africa (ESA) Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB) has consolidated into a report the findings from a recent survey conducted in its 24 members to assess the status of implementation of reforms and modernizations projects in the various customs administrations. The WCO-ROCBs are autonomous entities (they are not bodies of the WCO) that are established in various regions of the world to assist member customs administrations with capacity building programs at regional level by helping them, among others, to identify more accurate capacity building needs and possible solutions and to coordinate the use and implementation of WCO tools and practices in the different Regions. The WCO-ESA-ROCB report shows the progress made by customs administrations in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA region) with regard to the automation of processes, use of information communication and technology, HS implementation, risk management, cross-border e-commerce, single window implementation (with the observed changes following the introduction of such systems), use of coordinated border management practices, one-stop border posts, advance rulings, Electronic Cargo Tracking Systems (ECTSs) and other fields of activity.

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Two roadmaps guide the future development plans in the Horn of Africa

At the 17th Ministerial Roundtable of the Horn of Africa Initiative (HoAI), held in Sharm-el-Sheikh on 24 May 2023 on the margins of the African Development Bank’s 2023 Annual Meetings, the HoAI Finance Ministers highlighted the importance to leverage private sector investments for unlocking the economic growth of the Horn of Africa. At the same time, they called for the adoption of a common vision and strategy for accelerating development in the borderlands, being these geographical areas critical for the peace and prosperity of the region.

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