Building capacity to help Africa trade better

Aid for Trade Global Review 2017: Sample case stories


Aid for Trade Global Review 2017: Sample case stories

Aid for Trade Global Review 2017: Sample case stories
Photo credit: Jan Hoffmann

Ahead of the Aid for Trade Global Review 2017, a monitoring and evaluation exercise was conducted to survey Aid-for-Trade results and priorities. The monitoring exercise invited the public and private sectors to submit case stories about Aid-for-Trade projects under the theme of “Promoting trade inclusiveness and connectivity for sustainable development”.

A total of 145 case stories were received before the cut-off date, which included capacity building programmes in trade facilitation, experiences in building trade-related infrastructure, and improving information and communications technologies (ICT) in developing countries. A sample of these case stories is provided below. The full collection of submitted case stories is available here.

While the WTO does not deliver the development assistance itself, the organization instead has a mandate to promote coherence between trade and development. As such, the WTO works to encourage additional flows of Aid for Trade, advocates for the integration of trade into national and regional development strategies, and monitors the impact of the financing of various donors on the ground.

Services Trade, Industrial Development and the African Continental Free Trade Area

Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Sweden

The Swedish Government has engaged with tralac – a capacity-building organisation developing trade-related capacity in Africa – since 2010 in order to promote, inter alia, regional economic integration. The African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) negotiations were launched in July 2015 and early on, tralac identified the need to engage proactively with the CFTA process to increase services trade capacity and to advance thinking about services trade for industrial development. Through numerous policy relevant studies and workshops, tralac have directed resources towards capacity development and thought leadership on trade in services. Key components have been the production of high-quality and timely research, interactions with many of the key stakeholders and presentation of the data in a non-technical manner. There has been a clear demand pull for further work and it is likely to contribute to an integration of CFTA provisions on services with strategies of investment generation, industrial development and regional integration.

Objective of tralac’s Work on CFTA, Services and Industrial Development

To increase services trade capacity and to advance thinking on the continent about services trade, since the launch of negotiations, the aim of tralac has been to direct further efforts and resources towards capacity development and thought leadership on trade in services. Combined with the centre’s existing work on industrial development and trade, this has enabled them to develop a strong base for several initiatives. A particular ambition of the analysis has been to present the data in a non-technical manner to be accessible to non-services experts.

Activities and Key Messages

tralac supports the concurrent negotiation of trade in goods and services, and have undertaken studies and communicated these through various fora in order to inform the development of several key messages for trade policy makers, negotiators and other trade policy stakeholders on the continent.

First of all, following the decision by the African Union Assembly in January 2012 to expeditiously establish a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), tralac contacted the African Union Commission (AUC) and organized a one-day open discussion on the implications of this decision. This workshop took place in Addis, Ethiopia in April 2014. Subsequently, a series of papers were produced on aspects of the CFTA for Africa; these were distributed directly to the AUC in addition to the tralac network of subscribers across African countries and further afield, as well as more than 1500 twitter followers. Members of the AUC have been invited to the tralac Annual Conference since 2014. Requests for 3 further analysis, focusing on legal and institutional matters, on options for trade in services negotiations modalities followed in 2015, as did requests for tralac staff to contribute to training programmes on services and legal issues. Since then tralac participated in the preparation of a draft CFTA Agreement through workshops in May and September 2016.

Outputs and Key Messages

Firstly, a very comprehensive study of trade in services for African countries was done (available here). Other efforts include:

  • Quantitative work on the economic impact of services trade restrictions

  • Analytical work on services negotiations modalities

  • Analytical work on specific services sectors including transport, tourism and financial services

  • Analytical work on movement of persons

In summary, the key messages have been:

  • New approaches, in line with current international practice, that are more cost-effective and efficient in terms of negotiating effort and more integration enhancing in terms of potential outcomes should be considered, in light of the appropriateness (or not) of approaches and modalities adopted by the WTO and the regional economic communities for the negotiation of trade in services agreements in this day and age on the continent.

  • Private sector interests associated with international production networks increasingly require a new approach to trade negotiations away from the traditional focus on market access to measures affecting production behind the border, with emphasis on regulatory issues.

  • Global value chains and digital connectivity mean that services cannot be considered alone – services must be considered with goods, and domestic regulation must be considered with services. Movement of people is also an essential consideration.

  • It is through effective implementation of the market integration agenda that regional industrial development can be promoted particularly through better functioning of regional value chains.

  • In the 21st century support services are an essential component of modern industrialisation; it is not possible to be competitive in manufacturing without competitive services inputs.

  • Industrialisation in the 21st century is about complex economic linkages and relationships that transcend traditional policy, industry/sectoral and geo-political boundaries. African industrial development is occurring in a globalised environment and the inputs into that development will not be found solely inside the borders of any one country or continent.

  • Africa’s infrastructure development programme (Programme for Industrial Development of Africa – PIDA) has to be complemented and supported by a trade in services agenda that emphasises regulatory reform/harmonisation/cooperation; after all it is the services associated with infrastructure such as road/rail/fibre networks that are inputs to production processes, to support industrial development and diversification.

tralac have engaged two expert volunteers on financial services and information communication and technology to deepen our capacity for both our training and our research. This has enabled tralac to refine our messages particularly on the importance of the regulation to trade and the development of core support services for industrial development.

For example, in the case of IT services, our observations and experiences indicate that Africa is facing significant challenges in providing ICT services and universal, affordable access. A unified approach towards a “digital single market” will not only assist in increased trade within Africa, but also strengthen Africa’s position in global trade. How have these messages been delivered?

tralac have built capacity and refined and shared the policy conclusions through the delivery of various workshops and presentations on services trade policy and industrialisation in the 21st century in the context of the CFTA.

tralac have presented to a wide range of public and private forums, including in discussions with:

  • Lesotho’s Departments of Trade and Finance

  • Namibia’s Departments of Trade, Finance and ICT

  • Regional economic communities including SADC and COMESA

  • African Union Commission, UNCTAD, UNECA

In other words, tralac has early on and throughout the CFTA process identified a both economically and politically relevant research agenda. This engagement will continue as negotiations intensify.

Outcomes and impact

tralac proactively got involved in the policy agenda and early on made sure to ensure have an impact on the CFTA negotiation process by engaging with key stakeholders and delivering messages in a timely as well as non-technical manner. It is clear that the demand for high-quality, policy-relevant and accessible research led to a continuous interest in tralac’s work, likely to contribute to well-formulated CFTA provisions on services that work with countries’ strategies of investment generation, industrial development and regional integration.

The data demonstrated the important forward and backward linkages of services in value chains, linking the debate to the fundamental challenges of Africa’s industrialisation.

Negotiations for the CFTA are ongoing, so one is not yet able to gauge how the messages have influenced the negotiating agenda. However, it is safe to say that tralac have generated debate, stimulated further engagement and given workshop participants the tools and knowledge to engage with a 21st century services trade and industrial policy agenda.

Busia One Stop Border Post (OSBP)

TradeMark East Africa

Busia is a busy border post connecting Eastern Uganda and Western Kenya, with a daily average of 210 trucks crossing to Uganda and 30 crossing to Kenya in 2013. This project aimed to reduce the time taken to cross the border by combining border clearance activities in a single location, simplifying clearance procedures, increasing coordination of controls and sharing data. A survey conducted in June 2016 showed that the average time it took to cross from Busia Uganda to Busia Kenya was reduced by 80% from 2011 while crossing in the reverse direction took 79% less time than in 2011. The World Bank’s East African Trade and Transport Facilitation Project supported the Government of Uganda and tapped the help of TradeMark East Africa. Funding was also provided by the United Kingdom, USAID and Canada according to the case story submission.

Efforts to stimulate intra-regional trade in Africa have traditionally focused on improvement of transportation infrastructure such as construction of roads, rails, ports, power and ICT. Of equal importance to complement these initiatives is the extent to which the flow of goods and movement of people along the regional trade routes is facilitated.

OSBPs enable the EAC region to improve cross border procedures leading to creation of new possibilities for economic growth and people mobility across borders. In East Africa, most border points, are a hall mark of mostly small buildings scattered across any given area, catalysed by long queues, lengthy and duplicate processes. This consequently leads to longer transit times at the borders by both people and cargo. OSBPs have made it possible to bring under one roof, various government agencies from neighbouring countries. OSBPs enable border agencies from neighbouring countries to perform joint controls that result in benefits to security, trade facilitation and human mobility. OSBPs facilitate mobility of persons and, by reducing time loss, can also reduce the cost of transport for shippers and goods to final markets accruing economic benefits across the national economic spectrum.

Uganda is keen on increasing the ease of inland transit of goods, people across borders as that is paramount to improving its competitiveness and increasing its trade to the region. World Bank’s East African Trade and Transport Facilitation Project, supported the Government of Uganda with UGX 18.5 million spread over a 4-year period, to implement the Busia OSBP. World Bank later transferred the project to TradeMark East Africa, which has overseen the completion and operationalisation of the Busia OSBP with a target of reducing the average border crossing time by 30%.


Border Crossing Time Reduction: A TMEA Time and Traffic Survey, conducted in June 2016 shows significant results have been achieved due to operationalization of the Busia Uganda OSBP. The average time it takes to cross from Busia Uganda to Busia Kenya has reduced by 80% as a result of the operationalization (seventeen minutes for trucks, against a baseline of one hour, twenty six minutes in 2011) while the average time to cross from Busia Kenya to Busia Uganda has recorded a 79% reduction (two hours fifty seven minutes against a baseline of fourteen hours twenty minutes in 2011). Customs processing time for Busia Kenya reduced by 98% and for Busia Uganda by 69%.

Revenue inflows enhanced: The URA officer in charge of the Busia station, Mr. Ssozi Geoffrey indicated that since April 2016, there has been a UGShs 20Bn increase in revenue collected (from an average of UGShs 50Bn to UGShshs.70bn).Importers have benefited from faster clearance processes through taking advantage of increased round trips and increased storage space, among others.

Increased cooperation and coordination of controls: Border agencies are now more efficient as they are able to share resources such as office space and related equipment which has made them more efficient. The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Industry had for instance never before had a computer in their offices at the border, which the TMEA support facilitated them with. Collaborating agencies as well as the business community like Uganda Clearing Industry and Forwarding Association (UCIFA) are all housed in one centre which has other amenities including restaurants that are leased out and generate income to run the facility in the future.

The border agencies have also been trained to manage the border processes, and now jointly examine imports and exports. They have developed a common risk targeting profile to deal with any deviations.

Dedicated clearance process for Cross Border traders: Through increased engagement and collaboration with small cross border traders during the planning and implementation process, an introduced dedicated clearance process has improved their clearance processes and times. The Small Traders association has offices which coordinate their activities within the premises, providing services that include the provision of trade information to members and assistance in supporting traders to clear goods.

Regional Integration Centre created: Working with the Ministry of East African Community Affairs (MEAC), TMEA has facilitated the development of a Regional Integration Centre which has facilitated the dissemination of information on regional integration including information on Rules of Origin and the Common Market Protocol.

Improved facilities: The OSBP has warehousing facilities for small cross border traders to temporarily store merchandise as they wait to clear taxes. Through their association, they are now able to consolidate goods and hire one truck to a particular destination, thereby saving on transport costs.

The provision of housing for staff working at the border has enhanced security and increased staff motivation. The improved working conditions are a great boost to worker productivity. Mr. Simon Tumwesigye, Customs Supervisor Busia said “…the improved conditions are not only in terms of improved living conditions but their installation of other systems like ASYCUDA World which has allowed for real time client interaction with URA and the incentives for some companies to be on Authorized Economic Operator listing, as well as the privilege to serve more satisfied and happier clients will even be better.”

Detention centres that are gender disaggregated were built as well as public toilets. The improved facilities cater for the physically challenged, and women with children.

Elimination of non-tariff barriers to trade in East Africa

TradeMark East Africa

NTBs present a serious challenge to trade with an EAC wide cost estimate (2010) being approximately US$ 490 million. This case study highlights progress of TMEA’s NTB projects in reducing the time taken and costs involved in trading along the key corridors in East Africa. Results indicate a significant number of NTBs have been identified (112) and removed (87) (EAC Time Bound Programme on the elimination). There have been reductions in both the time taken, and costs involved, in trading across borders in the EAC in recent years. TMEA’s support in NTBs elimination, among other initiatives in the region such as the establishment of One Stop Border Posts, port capacity improvement, and transport logistics improvements have contributed to the results.

Work with NMCs

EAC Partner States established the NTB Monitoring Mechanism in 2007, in an effort to strengthen the efforts to monitor the occurrence of NTBs, as envisaged in the EAC Treaty and the Customs Union Protocol. The mechanism provided for the establishment of National Monitoring Committees (NMCs) on NTBs, with the responsibility of identifying, monitoring and facilitating the elimination of NTBs. TMEA’s elimination of NTBs programme supported the NMCs at the national and regional level to monitor the occurrence and resolution of NTBs. This stemmed from the fact that previously (pre-2010), the NMCs were not effective and efficient in leading the NTB elimination process due to various constraints.

The NMCs were launched in 2007 and 2008 in all Partner States. NMCs have membership across the private and public sectors. They are usually chaired by a representative from the ministry responsible for trade or EAC Affairs, and the vice chair is usually from a private sector business member organization (BMO). This ensures that the private sector has a channel to table the NTBs they come across while conducting business across the region. Later, they developed the Time-Bound Programme for elimination of NTBs, which was approved by the Council of Ministers in September 2009. All NMCs meet quarterly, in what is referred to as the Regional Forum, to update the Time-Bound Programme on the elimination of NTBs. In this forum, the private sector reports NTBs, and timelines are set for their elimination.

Previously, NMCs were not vibrant, and could not meet frequently enough, thereby denying the private sector the opportunity to report NTBs encountered.

Bilateral channels: In addition to supporting regular regional meetings for the NMCs, TMEA has supported the use of bilateral channels by NMCs have been used for the resolution of NTBs. Partner States have been engaged a number of formal and informal bilateral negotiations which have led to the resolution of NTBs, and this illustrates a different, successful way of resolving NTBs.

Online NTB reporting at the regional level: TMEA also provided financial support to the EAC Secretariat by hosting the Tripartite online and SMS reporting system. This is a COMESA-SADC-EAC website where NTBs are reported in real time, and an administrator follows up with national focal points for resolution. This is a faster way to report and resolve NTBs as members do not need to wait for the quarterly forum to report NTBs. The system is currently being supported by the African Development Bank, but TMEA continues to have close partnerships with the administrator.

SMS NTBs reporting at the national level: At the national level, TMEA has supported three countries in the EAC namely Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda, to implement SMS NTB reporting systems. Tanzania has an award winning electronic NTB reporting system. It was designed and implemented by the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) and has been operational since 2014. TCCIA spearheaded the system, with existing staff designing it and operating it. The electronic NTB reporting system enables the private sector to report, monitor and use information as evidence to advocate for the removal of NTBs and allows the public sector to analyse and understand the extent and scope of NTBs encountered. Complainants access the system via SMS by dialling a given number, through which the can also get a status update on their case. It provides a “real-time”, efficient and cost effective means of reporting and monitoring NTBs, allowing traders to track progress on a reported case. There were 181 NTB entries in 2014/15.

Awareness Raising and Sensitisation: Over 400 stakeholders have participated in awareness raising and training sessions, ranging from traders at border crossings, to officials of the Uganda Revenue Authority and apex lorry drivers associations. In Tanzania, at least 245 freight forwarders, transporters and traders have been exposed to NTB awareness raising, with an average about 35% of participants at events being women.

Increase in identifying and resolving NTBs

There has been significant progress in identifying NTBs with approximately 47 identified in 2010 (at the onset of the TMEA programmes) and 112 identified by 2015. Out of the 112 identified NTBs, 87 have been resolved to-date. Removal of NTBs is the explicit objective of the NTB projects and this has been achieved through a combination of work by the EAC Secretariat and NMCs; as well as bilateral negotiations between countries.

The World Trade Organisation categories of NTBs include, government participation in trade and restrictive practices tolerated by the government, customs and administrative entry procedures, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, specific limitations, charges on imports and other (procedural problems). Looking at the matrix, 45% of the resolved and 28% of the unresolved NTBs in the EAC are associated with customs and trade facilitation measures.

An assessment of the latest version of the EAC Time Bound Programme on Elimination of identified NTBs reveals the following indicative trends:

  • Resolved NTBs – Work is in progress in Tanzania to install modern weighbridges supported by weigh-in-motion technology at Vigwaza, Manyoni and Nyakahura, which would further reduce the number of weighbridges along the Central Corridor to 3. On the Northern Corridor there are currently 8 weighbridges of which 4 are located in Uganda (Mbarara, Lukaya, Magamaga and Busitema) and 4 in Kenya (Webuye, Gilgil, Mlolongo/Athi River and Mariakani). This follows a successful reduction from 6 to 4 in Kenya (removing weighbridges at Eldoret and Mai Mahiu). In both Kenya and Uganda, permanent police road blocks have been largely eliminated.

  • Unresolved NTBs – the countries that reported the most NTBs in the EAC Time Bound Programme on Elimination of Identified NTBs which remain unresolved are Rwanda and Kenya. Some of the unresolved NTBs relate to existing laws that require legal reforms and so require protracted change processes. A minority of unresolved NTBs have remained unresolved for a long period.

  • New NTBs – during the 21st EAC Regional Forum on Elimination of NTBs held in June 2016, the EAC Secretariat reported 6 new NTBs. New NTBs continue to be an issue as Partner States formulate and implement new laws and regulations that aim to achieve legitimate public policy objectives. As mentioned, there is an urgent need to discourage Partner States from introducing new NTBs – through compliance mechanisms in the NTB Act. A number of resolved NTBs t re-emerge as existing and so need to be resolved again. This could be addressed through stringent enforcement mechanisms.

  • Regional – There has been significant progress in the number of NTBs that have been identified (112) and resolved (87) through the EAC Time Bound Programme on Elimination of Identified NTBs supported by TMEA – in a large part due to work undertaken by the NMCs and EAC Secretariat since the onset of TMEA support from 2011.

Harmonization of road tolls: The Rwanda NTB project supported development of diagnostic studies including the “Rwanda Road Freight Industry Competitiveness Study 2014” which was commissioned by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. A key finding was that high road tolls in neighbouring countries, especially Tanzania, were causing a decline in Rwanda’s share of the road freight market. For example, a Rwanda registered truck entering Tanzania was charged US$500 while a Tanzania registered truck entering Rwanda charged only US$152. Policy makers used these finding to broker an agreement with the Government of Tanzania, This process then resulted into harmonisation of road tolls at US$152 saving an estimated US$800,000 for Rwandan transporters. A costs and benefits analysis of the Rwanda NTB project indicates that this activity saved an equivalent of 44% of the total budget of the Rwanda 5-year NTB project and is a saving that may continue into the future.

Women in Informal Cross Border Trade in Southern Africa

Banyan Global / USAID

As a part of the Southern Africa Trade Hub project, USAID conducted a gender assessment on informal crossborder traders (ICBTs) in southern Africa. The assessment included a literature and policy review, as well as field research carried out in two border areas: the Mwanza border in Malawi and the Kazungula border in Botswana. The final report from the assessment entitled, “Women Informal Cross-Border Traders in Southern Africa: Contributions, Constraints, and Opportunities,” examines the constraints, challenges and opportunities experienced by women ICBTs in doing business and interacting with officials at border crossings. The report highlights that women comprise 70-80 percent of informal cross border traders in the southern Africa region and that ICBT contributes to women’s livelihoods – both at the individual and household level – as well as food security and national and regional economic growth and trade.

Case story

The regional USAID-funded Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub worked to improve international competitiveness, intra-regional trade, and food security throughout Southern Africa. Recent experiences in trade liberalization and their impacts on gender equality made a strong case for the need to incorporate gender perspectives into overall trade facilitation policy, design and implementation. The inclusion of gender perspectives was an essential element of the project with the potential to address social, cultural, and economic aspects that have influence on gender inequality and marginalization of women.

As a part of the Trade Hub’s gender integration strategy and its efforts to improve trade facilitation, USAID conducted an assessment on women ICBTs in Southern Africa, a group whose valuable contribution to trade in sub-Saharan Africa remains largely unrecognized and often ignored. The main research objective was to learn about existing constraints and challenges experienced by women in informal cross border trade, especially at border posts and make recommendations and identify possible opportunities to reduce and/or address identified constraints. This would include examining women traders’ knowledge of current regulations on trade, immigration and customs policies and regulations that are relevant for their businesses. The assessment was designed to provide a better understanding of the profiles of women ICBTs, including education levels, age, fertility rates and marital status. The report would also illustrate the various economic benefits of cross border trade for women, and the contributions ICBT makes in lives of women traders to national economies, to regional food security, and peace and security.

The assessment includes a literature and policy review, as well as field research carried out in Malawi and Botswana using a rapid-appraisal methodology. For field research, the team visited six borders for field research: two between Malawi and Mozambique and four between Botswana and its neighbors, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia. The rapid appraisal included interviews with 36 ICBTs. Of these, 26 (72 percent) were women (including 24 in focus groups and two in special case studies), and 10 (28 percent) were men. In addition, 15 key informant interviews were carried out with members of trade associations and border agents and officers.

The final report examined women’s role in informal cross border trade across Southern Africa and the gender constraints experienced by women ICBTs. The report found that these constraints include higher transaction costs; lack of access to information on procedures, rights, and processes; and limited access to transportation. The report also illustrates how the lack of physical security at border crossings increases the vulnerability of women ICBTs to harassment and different forms of gender-based violence (GBV), including sexual coercion, exploitation, and harassment often by border agents, while staying overnight at borders, or in transit to/from borders.

Key findings include:

  • Trade facilitation: ICBT is incredibly fluid and efficient when compared with formal trade in Africa. In the region average custom delays can be up to 12.1 days – the longest in the world. In contrast, when the research team observed a line of ICBTs in Malawi and Botswana, customs officials stated that all would make it through in several hours on average.

  • The Profile of Women ICBTs: From the literature review, the research team found that sources estimate women comprise 70-80 percent of ICBTs. The assessment found that contrary to stereotypes, women ICBTs are not undereducated. For example, 82 percent of Malawi women ICBTs have at least secondary or higher education. Many of the women included in the field research were heads of their households (HoH), either because they were not married, they were widowed, divorced, or separated, or their husbands had jobs in other locations – de-facto HoH. For many, being ICBT was not their only job – many had other formal or informal jobs, including working as retailers. These ICBTs would sell the goods they bring back directly – in shops, in formal and informal markets, from their homes, or through their other jobs.

  • Contributions: The research team found that women traders, regardless of marital status, control their own businesses and are generally able to exercise decision-making control over incomes derived from ICBT. The assessment found that ICBTs work contributes to increased decision-making and that most women used funds from ICBT to pay for school fees. In addition, women’s incomes make significant contributions to family health, nutrition, food security, and housing. Moreover, ICBT contributes substantially to economies in Southern Africa. The assessment highlights that ICBT can contribute between 30 to 40 percent of intra Southern Africa Development Community trade and ICBT in Southern Africa is valued at $20 billion a year. Women ICBT’s role in food security is crucial as traders typically trade from areas of surplus to shortage, and fluidity and exchange across borders and among populations and groups can also promote peacebuilding and conflict mitigation.

  • Constraints: The assessment found several key constraints for women ICBTs. While free trade area has helped ease border taxes in Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa region, there are still a range of taxes and charges, many which are quite costly for traders. Additionally, inadequate access to finance and financial resources is a chronic problem for women ICBTs; 80 percent of ICBTs obtain capital from informal sources and rotating savings clubs are highly popular. A key finding from field research is the enormous information gap between ICBTs and border agents. Many Malawi revenue authorities (MRA) insisted that customs rules are clear, but ICBTs disagree and expressed concerns about being harassed, cheated and overcharged by MRA. Many ICBT’s also complained of high rates of GBV to, from, and at borders.

Lessons learnt

The report successfully examined constraints, challenges and opportunities experienced by women involved in ICBT, especially at border posts. The report found that women ICBTs face a number of obstacles, including sexual harassment or coercion in some countries or borders (including Malawi’s Mwanza border with Mozambique), and sometimes unique risks, such as using wild animal corridors to avoid certain borders (e.g., in Northern Botswana). In addition to these constraints, the study also found that many women ICBTs have developed cooperative mechanisms that help them professionally – and which also help the flow of Southern Africa trade. For example, they will look out for each other’s safety on the road, and typically they belong to one or more “savings clubs” they have created to provide access to short-term working capital.

The principal constraint was limited time in the field. This research was carried out at in the final months of the Trade Hub project, and this limited the scope of the research, in addition to both the number of countries included and the amount of time allotted for fieldwork and analysis. It is hoped that a number of proposed recommendations can be taken up by the follow-on USAID-funded Southern Africa Trade and Investment Project and other key regional, international, and national stakeholders working on trade issues in Southern Africa.

Another constraint for the research team was not being able to interview “front-line” border officials from Customs, Immigration, and Police. In both Malawi and Botswana, the chief customs officer facilitated access to high-ranking officials of these services, but did not offer to set up interviews with the lower-ranking “front-line” officials who interact with border crossers – perhaps because the subject matter is sensitive. This limitation of the present research should be remedied in subsequent research on ICBTs in general and women ICBTs in particular.


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