Addressing Road Transport Regulatory Issues: An Important Step Towards Realising the Objectives of the AfCFTA

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Addressing Road Transport Regulatory Issues: An Important Step Towards Realising the Objectives of the AfCFTA

Addressing Road Transport Regulatory Issues: An Important Step Towards Realising the Objectives of the AfCFTA

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Working Papers ~ Etiyel Chibira

Road transport plays a critical role in facilitating trade and enhancing regional integration in Africa, and it is an indispensable input to international economic cooperation and foreign trade. It provides vital links that connect economic hubs in different countries and facilitates movement of goods between regional economic communities (RECs). Road transport is the dominant mode of transport for overland movement of trade traffic in Africa, carrying more than 80 per cent of trade on the continent. To be competitive at the global level, Africa must be able to move goods on the continent and to and from other regions at the same speed or better than other regions. The cost and quality of road transport services is of critical importance to trade competitiveness.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) presents a significant opportunity for Africa to improve intra-Africa trade, economic performance and the continent’s share of global trade. However, the continent needs an efficient transport system that enables faster travel, facilitates efficient cross-border movements and achieves the goal of seamless movement of goods, services and people. Therefore, one important step for Africa is to address road transport regulatory fragmentation among trading partners as this is the major source of inefficiencies in the cross-border road transport system.

This paper discusses regulation of cross-border road transport, the fragmentation in the regulatory frameworks, the impact of the fragmentation on cross-border road transport and trade flows between countries, economic development and regional integration. It also provides recommendations to address the regulatory issues which should be elevated in the negotiation of the AfCFTA trade in services. Transport is one of the five priority services sectors in the AfCFTA. Member states are currently preparing offers of specific commitments for these sectors, and will also develop and adopt a framework for regulatory cooperation.


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