In the past decade alone, unprecedented efforts have been directed towards enhancing intra-Africa trade by diverse stakeholders ranging from governments to regulatory authorities, private sector, global and regional financial institutions and many more from the donor community. Many engagements have been and are still on-going between member states and regional economic blocs at both political and technical levels with a view to not just finding solutions but also mapping implementation strategies to enhance intra-Africa trade, yet there is still very little to show off. Experience indicates that the bulk of efforts have so far been directed towards (mobilising) hard infrastructure investment, de-bottlenecking border posts through introduction of efficient border management systems like integrated border management, single window systems, one stop border post and customs processes and systems enhancement. To date only limited real commitments and effort have so far been directed beyond these interventions thus Africa has very few success stories to tell. This paper looks at key interventions, other than hard infrastructure investment, border management reform and customs processes enhancement that are required in order to effectively improve intra-Africa trade. The paper was compiled based on thorough environmental assessment and stakeholder consultations. Many interventions can be implemented in Africa. However, the key question is how far they will go towards addressing challenges and blockages to intra-Africa trade given the foregoing political and economic environment. In as much as solutions must address corridor non-tariff barriers, delays and cost of doing business, it is imperative to ensure that there is synergy of interest among key stakeholders, capacity building, value addition to goods that are produced in Africa and fine balance between sovereignty concerns and trade facilitation, among others.
Papers presented at the 36th Southern African Transport Conference, CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa on 10-13 July 2017.