Trade Briefs

Comparing the Trading Environment for Enterprises in Africa’s RECs: Lessons from Firm-Level Data

Comparing the Trading Environment for Enterprises in Africa’s RECs: Lessons from Firm-Level Data

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30 Mar 2020

Author(s): John Stuart

This Trade Brief investigates the ease of trade for small, medium and large-sized enterprises across the countries and regional economic communities (RECs) of Africa. The percentage of African enterprises identifying customs and trade regulations as a major constraint is almost 40% higher in Africa than the rest of the world. In addition, Africa’s performance in clearing both exports and imports through customs is below the world aggregate, but more so for imports clearing. Africa’s imports take on average more than 30% longer to clear customs than the world average.

Of all the RECs in sub-Saharan Africa, SADC scores best on ease of trade indicators from the importer perspective and the perspective of the general perception of trade regulations as an impediment. This suggests that SADC has something to contribute to the balance of SSA in their quest to improve their enterprise environments for cross-border trade.


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