It is important that the Global South countries and particularly African countries device approaches that aim at entrenching integration in their own regions. This is absolutely crucial now that African States have the ambition of increasing intra- African trade. Secondly, African governments need to approach FTA and EPAs with the countries in Global North with extra caution and with their development needs, economic situations, and integration ambitions in mind.
Trade Facilitation Agreement
Trade security is an important component of Customs work. Customs administration should adapt to the environment they operate and the commencement of the AfCFTA is a new development which calls for adaptation. The AfCFTA presents challenges to trade security due to the large volumes of cargo whose movement should be as unhindered as possible. Various international instruments seek to promote trade security through promoting collaboration, capacity building for Customs administrators, as well as simplification and harmonization of procedures. Interestingly, all trade instruments discussed have demonstrated that trade facilitation and trade security are intrinsically inter-linked. Even though Customs administrations in the AfCFTA have embraced digital technologies they continue to have implementation challenges.
The Southern African States are encouraged to continue with their laudable efforts of implementing transparency measures. They should strive to meet the implementation deadlines that they have set for themselves. They should seek assistance to mitigate any capacity constraints that are preventing them from making necessary reforms. Fortunately both the TFA and the AfCFTA recognise the importance of special and differential treatment (S&DT) and technical assistance to improve prospects of compliance. This gives some assurance that members will continue to achieve greater success in improving transparency going forward.
There are no two ways about this. Kenya’s Parliament must reject the UK-Kenya Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Kenya and the UK must from scratch renegotiate a new agreement that reflects Kenya’s interests. The current agreement is heavily tilted towards the interests of the United Kingdom and its multinationals stationed in Kenya. There are three major reasons why Parliament must reject and renegotiate this agreement.
This blog aims to present some of the challenges being faced within Africa’s trade landscape and some of the workable policy instruments for overcoming these barriers in the digital post-COVID-19 age. In other words, the broad objective is to propose innovative solutions for enhancing post-COVID-19 economic resilience across businesses and households in a sustainable fashion.
Noting the challenges in implementation of commitments under this Agreement by developing and least developed countries, I argue that there is potential for Customs administrations to act as conduits for WTO TFA implementation through their reform and modernisation initiatives. To demonstrate the feasibility of this approach, I highlight the achievements realised through Customs reforms and modernisation by Lesotho in the area of trade facilitation.
Noting the different levels of economic development amongst AfCFTA State Parties, this post intends to shed light on implementation of Annex 4 to the benefit of all. This is in part due to the fact that the TFA steers away from the ‘one size fits all’ approach and instead introduces new, unique and innovative features to facilitate Members’ integration into the global value networks. Furthermore, I contend that the features discussed could serve as a model to further elaborate on Special and Differential Treatment (SDT) as a guiding principle within the context of trade facilitation measures.
The creation of a single continental unit is meant to allow the formation of larger economies of scale and enhance the region’s specialization in agricultural and industrial production. However, the reduction or even elimination of tariffs will not be enough to reach the AU’s objective of doubling the existing level of intra-African trade, as significant and continent-specific challenges lie ahead.