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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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AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative gains momentum

During the 9th meeting of the AfCFTA Council of Ministers of July 25, 2022 the AfCFTA Secretariat announced the launch of a programme called “AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative” as a pilot exercise to assess the readiness of seven selected African States to trade on the basis of the new continental free trade area framework. The purpose of the Initiative is to test the procedures and documents introduced by the AfCFTA Agreement by exchanging commercially meaningful goods identified by such States bilaterally at preferential duty rates. Countries included in the Guided Trade Initiative include Cameroon, Ghana, Egypt, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Mauritius. Recently also Tunisia was added to the list.

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AfCFTA Investment Protocol finally approved

The Investment Protocol to the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement has finally been approved in Accra, Ghana, after one week of State-Party consultations. The AfCFTA Committee on Investment, the body established on 3rd May 2021 by the Ministers responsible for Trade of African States to drive the negotiations of such Protocol, met for the first time virtually from 6th to 9th September 2021 to agree on the modalities and principles for negotiating the AfCFTA Protocol on Investment. This was followed by a second meeting held from 13th to 16th December 2021 to analyse a “Zero Draft” version of the Protocol developed by the AfCFTA Secretariat.

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Moyale One-Stop Border Post failure to integrate economies and communities living in proximity of the border

Despite the adoption, on 15 September 2021, of an operational procedure manual for joint border operations, the establishment of a Joint (bilateral) Border Post Committee to facilitate the coordination of operations between the border agencies of Kenya and Ethiopia and the launch of a community outreach program to promote trade of local communities at the border, the Moyale One Stop Border Post (OSBP) still suffers from unharmonised procedures and remains largely underutilised. According to a recent article published on Business Daily, rather than facilitating trade, the facility has turned with time into an impediment to the movement of people, preventing the two countries to reap the socio-economic benefits that the OSBP was supposed to deliver in terms of integration of their economies and of the communities living in proximity of the border post.

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Horn of Africa Ministers sign joint declaration on trade facilitation

On 6 to 7 April 2022, the Horn of Africa Initiative (HoAI) Secretariat, together with the African Development Bank, the World Bank, the EU Commission, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and delegations of officials from the Ministries of Trade, Finance, Transport and of the revenue/customs authorities of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti, met in Nairobi in a Trade Workshop to elaborate a consolidated matrix identifying priority actions that HoAI countries governments should pursue in the short and medium term in order to facilitate trade and increase regional integration in the Horn.

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Togo and Benin Customs complete interoperability project for automation of transit procedures

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) launched in March 2019 a project for monitoring cargo moving in transit in the region by tracking it electronically from the customs office of departure to the office of destination. Initially nicknamed “ALISA” and subsequently renamed “SIGMAT” (Système Interconnectè de Gestion des Marchandises en Transit), such a system aims at interconnecting the ECOWAS member States through the integration into their customs IT management systems of a specific “SIGMAT module” allowing the electronic exchange of advance information on the movement of transit goods along some key trade corridors in the region. Its implementation is supported by partners such as UNCTAD, the European Union, the World Bank and the German Cooperation (GIZ). Other Regional Economic Communities in Africa have developed so far electronic cargo tracking systems for monitoring the movement of transit goods over their territory. This is the case for instance of the East African Community (EAC) Regional Electronic Cargo and Drivers Tracking System (RECDTS) and the Tripartite (EAC/COMESA/SADC) Corridor Trip Monitoring System (CTMS).

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