Initial Assessments of Africa’s New Trade Information Portals
Over the past few years, various African countries have established trade information/intelligence portals to facilitate trade through transparency and sharing of information. This Trade Brief evaluates several of these new portals in terms of the international best practice standards put forward by the United Nations’ International Trade Centre (ITC), as well as a ‘mechanical’ standard implemented automatically.
A trade information portal (TIP) is an interactive website dedicated to enabling trade to and from the country, by offering a ‘one stop shop’ for all relevant trade information, such as: Directory of major importers and exporters, governmental trade agencies and trade-related entities and chambers; General documentary and regulatory requirements; Specific requirements by product category, such as procedures, SPS and TBT requirements; and Market intelligence and opportunities
The main areas of common deficiency in African trade information portals (TIPs) are the absence of social media integration and a lack of market intelligence and information on market opportunities. On the other hand, most of the TIPs comply well with language selectability, repository of documentation, trade sector highlighting, printability and viewability. Funding and technical assistance seem to be the main determinants to success in developing and maintaining a successful TIP in Africa.
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