From September 1-3, 2015, the Southern African Development Community's (SADC) Directorate of Trade, Industry, Finance, and Investment, supported by USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub, held a three-day Consultative Workshop on the SADC Comprehensive Trade Facilitation Programme (CTFP) in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Over 30 representatives from the 15 SADC Member States as well as the private sector and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) participated in the workshop. US Consul General Christopher Rowan, USAID Southern Africa Deputy Mission Director Lit Tazewell, and USAID Regional Economic Growth Office Director Mark Wilt attended the event and lent their ongoing support to SADC and the finalization of the CTFP.
The CTFP will be used by SADC’s Member States as a blueprint to meet the recommendations of the WTO’s Agreement on Trade Facilitation and other trade facilitation agreements, and is critical to creating a harmonized approach to trade facilitation in the region. The CTFP is based on the four principles of transparency, predictability, simplification, and cooperation and uses a five-year timeline to prioritize activities with realistic timelines for each activity. The document covers 27 trade-related activities including National Single Window, Trade Information Portals, appeals procedures, and an inter-regional transit management system.
The CTFP workshop introduced SADC’s Member States and private sector stakeholders to the draft of the Comprehensive Trade Facilitation Programme, which was prepared by USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub at the request of SADC. The workshop offered the Member States an in-depth opportunity to review the draft, request edits and changes, and ensure the CTFP will meet their needs. SADC collected recommendations and feedback to prepare the final version of the CTFP, which will be presented at SADC headquarters in Gaborone when completed.
Of particular note was the overwhelming support from private sector attendees from Malawi, Mauritius, Zambia, and South Africa, who stated the tremendous value in organizing previously fragmented trade facilitation concepts and grounding them in a single source document that any player in the trade chain can understand.
Photo: USAID Southern Africa Deputy Mission Director Littleton Tazewell, US Consul General Christopher Rowan, and SADC Senior Program Officer Willie Shumba at one of the workshop sessions in Johannesburg.