Trade Briefs

Trade Facilitation in Africa: Progress, Performance and Potential

Trade Facilitation in Africa: Progress, Performance and Potential

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30 May 2018

Author(s): John Stuart

Trade facilitation refers to measures taken by a sovereign nation and its agencies to remove or ameliorate hindrances to cross-border trade of goods and services. In the African context, it has the potential to improve trade between Africa and the rest of the world (ROW) as well as, and importantly given the pre-eminence of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), intra-African trade.

This Trade Brief attempts to assess the trade facilitation performance of Africa by means of data-driven analysis and visualisation. Four dimensions of trade facilitation are analysed for the nations of Africa and as collectives in the forms of RECs. Logistics performance, customs performance, postal performance and Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) performance scores are used to attempt to paint a holistic picture of Africa’s trade facilitation readiness.

In general, the nations of Africa and the RECs they are grouped into are relatively divergent with regard to trade facilitation performance. In many cases, strength in one area is offset by weakness in another. This suggests that for most countries, there is potential to improve in the four areas comprising overall trade facilitation performance. The Trade Brief concludes that Africa has much to gain by adoption of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, which provides a framework by which trade facilitation can be implemented.


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