SADC adopts revised guidelines on harmonisation and facilitation with SOPs for the Management and Monitoring of cross-border road transport


At the extra-ordinary Council of Ministers Meeting held on 23rd June 2020, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has approved: 1) Revised Regional Guidelines on Harmonization and Facilitation of Cross Border Transport Operations across the Region, and 2) Regional Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the Management and Monitoring of Cross Border Road Transport at Designated Points of Entry and Covid-19 Checkpoints.

The guidelines for harmonising and facilitating movement of critical goods and services across the region during the COVID-19 were approved by the SADC Council of Ministers on 6th April 2020, with the aim of facilitating the harmonisation in the movement of essential goods and services across borders in the SADC Region during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The revised guidelines, in an attempt to balance, realign, harmonise and coordinate COVID-19 response measures with the requirements for trade and transport facilitation, aim at further promoting safe trade and transport facilitation for economic growth and poverty alleviation in the SADC region.

The guidelines are also expected to facilitate the implementation of the SMART corridor trip monitoring system (CTMS), a system which is still under development, for management of the registration of cross border trips, recording, monitoring and surveillance of driver wellness including medical test results for specified communicable diseases such as COVID-19, tracking of vehicles, loads and drivers, contact tracing, queue management at ports, border posts and other facilities and statistical analysis and reporting.

During the Council of Ministers Meeting of 23rd June 2020, SADC Member States who have not yet established and or activated National Transport and Trade Facilitation Committees (NTTFCs) have been urged to include in such bodies also public health and public security authorities, as well as private sector representatives, in order to address more effectively COVID-19 remedial measures.

The SADC Council also directed the Expanded Technical Committee to develop guidelines aimed at encouraging the development of local and regional pharmaceutical manufacturing capacities that are safe and uphold highest standards of integrity. The Council also encouraged Member States to use the the ‘Africa Medical Supplies Online Platform’, an emarketplace launched by the African Union on behalf of the African Union’s Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and in partnership with African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), that aggregates sellers of certified medical equipment such as diagnostic kits, PPE and clinical management devices. The platform aims at facilitating access to critical supplies of sanitary items for African governments.