Will the AfCFTA tackle Non-Tariff Barriers as a Governance Issue?
When one speaks to the private sector operators (freight forwarders in particular) involved in the business of clearing goods for export to African states, their biggest complaints are about non-tariff barriers (NTBs) in the form of border delays, inconsistent clearance procedures and the uncoordinated regulation of cross-border transport. NTBs are some of the most pernicious and costly obstacles to intra-African trade and integration. It has been so for a long time.
Officials from the Regional Economic Community (REC) Secretariats in Southern and Eastern Africa, on the other hand, will often argue that there is an effective mechanism in place to deal with these problems. What they have in mind is the reporting, by private users of border clearance and transport services, of NTB related complaints on monitoring platforms such as tradebarriers.org.
When private sector stakeholders are encouraged to report instances of encountering NTBs on a public monitoring platform there is a built-in assumption that their complaints will be resolved through appropriate remedial action. For that to happen a certain procedure must be in place.
Readers are encouraged to quote and reproduce this material for educational, non-profit purposes, provided the source is acknowledged. All views and opinions expressed remain solely those of the author and do not purport to reflect the views of