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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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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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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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