Mombasa Port is busy and expected to get busier. The first two months of 2017 has put it on track to process even more transshipment business this year, exceeding last year’s levels by 87 percent . Read more about the busy Mombasa Port and other freight forwarding news in the Federation of East African Freight Forwarders Association’s (FEAFFA) just published quarterly magazine here.
The Hub partners with FEAFFA to improve the customs clearing and freight forwarding industry’s compliance with the East African Community’s (EAC) revised Rules of Origin. Rules of Origin are a set of laws and regulations to determine country of origin and tariff preferences. Adherence to a set of transparent Rules of Origin is a crucial component to reducing the cost and time to move cargo across borders.
The Hub is specifically supporting FEAFFA to disseminate accurate information through a booklet that highlights the key changes on the revised EAC Rules of Origin, and serves as a quick reference for clearing and forwarding agents and shippers.
FEAFFA is a regional private sector apex body of the Customs Clearing and Freight Forwarding (CFA) industry in East Africa. Established in 2006, it is registered and domiciled in Tanzania with its Secretariat located in Nairobi, Kenya. Members of the Federation are national umbrella CFA industry associations in Burundi, Kenya, mainland Tanzania, Zanzibar, Rwanda and Uganda, which together represent over 2,500 firms.
FEAFFA is working toward the implementation of an efficient, professional and competitive regional freight logistics industry. The federation has developed and implemented a premier regional professional training course for the CFA industry (EACFFPC) in which nearly 6,000 agents have qualified, a regional industry Code of Conduct and Standard Trading Conditions, an electronic trade information portal, a mobile application on tariffs and a database of certified industry professionals. It also publishes a quarterly magazine (freight logistics) with a vibrant online version.
Bureaucracy has been singled out as a major contributor to the high cost of doing business in Africa.
For instance, a container from South Africa takes three weeks, requires five sets of invoices, 28 Southern Africa Development Community certificates, 84 Customs stamps, 56 Customs signatures and 83 export documents before it can enter Angola.
Speakers at the annual general meeting of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in Kigali cited this and similar trade barriers by African countries as the cause of the ever increasing cost of doing business on the continent. Read more. Source | East African
South Africa, the second largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, has joined Kenya and other regional countries in signing of the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) aimed at easing doing business on the continent.
Johannesburg joined the FTA pact during the ministerial meeting that was held in Kampala, Uganda last week. TFTA brings together three business regional blocs of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), East African Community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Kenya is a member of Comesa and EAC. Read more. Source | Business Daily
On February 22, the World Trade Organisation’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) finally came into force after being negotiated for nearly 10 years. The agreement which tasks 164 members of WTO to expedite the movement, release and clearance of goods across borders, launches a new phase for trade facilitation reforms globally and creates a significant boost for commerce and the multilateral trading system as a whole, according experts.
Rosine Uwamariya, the customs operations manager at Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), said the operationisation of the agreement is an opportunity for Rwanda to enhance its trade procedures and become more competitive.
“TFA calls for implementation of simple, harmonised and modernised international border procedures, which is key for cross-border trade,” she noted. Read more. Source | New Times
Cases of informal cross-border traders using dangerous methods and routes to move their goods across the regional borders are many. As a result, those involved in informal cross-border trade, many of whom are women, live a risky life.
Despite the difficulties the informal cross-border traders go through, they barely make enough money as most of their proceeds end up being used in facilitating movements of their merchandises across the borders. And in many cases they fall prey to thugs and even unscrupulous border officials who intimidate and harass them before confiscating their produces on the flimsiest of reasons. Read more. Source | Daily Monitor
Towards the Comprehensive Review of the EAC CET is a policy brief published by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub.
The publication contains key recommendations that will lead to successful establishment of a Common Externat Tarriff (CET) on goods imported into the partner states from foreign countries in the East Africa Community (EAC).
Policy Brief on Enhancing Kenya's Services Sector is a publication by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub.
The publication contains key recommendations on policies that require amendment in order to improve the services sector, which has and continues to play a crucial role in Kenya's economic development.
Rwanda Revenue Authority is primed to adopt a multi-lateral transit framework that allows goods in transit to be cleared by customs, with the payment of duties and taxes suspended until they are cleared at final destination.
The Transport Internationaux Routiers (TIR) system, officials at RRA said, will greatly boost the drive toward regional integration
According to Raphael Ugirumuremyi, the commissioner for customs services at RRA, Rwanda has since realised commendable progress in trade facilitation since the removal of non-tariff barriers by the East African region—but “some challenges” still exist, hence the need to further look into “possible solution”. Read more. Source | New Times
With intra-EAC trade on the decline, businesses are pushing for the harmonisation of standards for more products which would facilitate market access and improve the competitiveness of exporters in the region.
The East Africa Business Council says that harmonising the standards of most commonly traded goods in the region will increase trade volumes because goods will cross borders without being subjected to multiple testing.
While 94 standards have been harmonised, many products are still subjected to different quality standards. Read more. Source | East African
Regional countries should always consider gender in policy formulation and implementation, as well as in the negotiations of trade and other agreements because it is key to economic growth, Mukhisa Kituyi, UNCTAD Secretary General, has said.
Speaking during the launch of an online training course for COMESA countries on the “links between trade and gender” on Monday, Kituyi said mainstreaming gender would ensure equity and inclusion in the region’s development agenda.
The training would focus on the interactions between trade and gender and their links to the Common Market for East and Southern African (COMESA) countries’ inclusive development strategies, as well as the influence of trade integration on gender outcomes in different economic sectors among member countries. Read more. Source | New Times