In Southern Africa, trade costs as high as double the global average significantly constrain trade-based growth, limit product diversification and increase the price of goods, including food. To reduce the time and costs of importing and exporting, the Trade and Investment Hub is promoting several modern trade facilitation tools and assisting in their adoption. Read More
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub met with the Lesotho Minister of Economic Affairs, Kimetso Mathaba, in the Prime Minister’s Office to update the Minister on implementation progress for the Investor Roadmap for Lesotho. The meeting was requested by the Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Economic Affairs during an Investor Roadmap audit conducted by the Trade Hub earlier in May in partnership with the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) and the Department of Policy and Strategic Planning (DPSP). The recent audit was part of a five-day Trade Hub program that included a one-day validation workshop and a workshop on Investment Reform Communications Best Practice.
In partnership with the Lesotho National Development Corporation and the Department of Policy and Strategic Planning, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub conducted an investor roadmap audit in Lesotho after a similar exercise in Swaziland the previous week.
The Southern Africa Trade Hub’s Change Management Training course in Botswana wrapped up on May 28, 2015 in Gaborone after bringing representatives of the Botswana government and private sector organizations together to begin the process of developing “Change Agents” for National Single Window (NSW) environment implementation. The course was enthusiastically received by all participants, and the Trade Hub was encouraged to host other similar training events to address change management in the future. Of particular interest was the segment on mitigating fear of change when modernizing government border clearance services.
From May 19-21, participants from nine different government and private sector stakeholder agencies were given Change Management Training on National Single Window by the Trade Hub. The training was designed to prepare relevant officials in Malawi for the successful implementation of National Single Window (NSW), which will allow parties involved in trade and transport to submit all trade-related documents via a single electronic entry point to reduce the time and cost of trade.
The Southern Africa Trade Hub, in partnership with the Swaziland Investor Roadmap Unit (IRMU) conducted an investor roadmap audit covering government departments and the private sector. The Investor Roadmap is a tool to help improve a country’s investment climate with regulatory, legislative, and procedural reforms; the Trade Hub last conducted a similar audit in 2013.
The SADC Secretariat, in cooperation with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the EU through the Regional Economic Integration Support (REIS) Programme, has been working for the last two years to develop a SADC Investment Policy Framework using the OECD Policy Framework for Investment.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub presented at the World Customs Organization’s IT Conference and Exhibition May 6-8 in Freeport, Bahamas on the topic “Efficient Transit Solutions for Reducing Costs of Trading.” The three-day conference and exhibition addressed the use of modern information and communications technology to help countries connect to global and regional value chains.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub conducted the first stage of its legal review of Namibia’s Single Window legal environment from May 18-21, 2015, in Windhoek. The legal review is designed to assess the country’s legislative readiness for National Single Window and will result in recommendations to harmonize Namibia’s legislation with international standards.
Building on the Project Management training given to the National Single Window (NSW) project team in Namibia in November 2014, the Southern Africa Trade Hub hosted a Change Management training seminar for senior managers from government and parastatal organisations, from April 28-30 in Swakopmund, Namibia. The seminar provided future members of the Single Window Technical Committee with a common understanding of effective change management strategy and how it will help to ensure smooth implementation of the Single Window program in Namibia.
On April 23, the Trade Hub’s Trade Facilitation Director attended a roundtable discussion on regional trade at the residence of the Deputy Chief of Mission for the US Embassy in Pretoria. Representatives of USAID and the State Department joined the US Customs and Border Protection Attaché and representatives of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) in a dialogue to discuss the benefits of implementing trade facilitation measures in line with the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation.