Trade facilitation performance in Africa
Although Sub-Saharan Africa remains, on average, one of the weaker performing regions on the Border administration pillar, a number of countries in the region are making progress to facilitate trade. Botswana and Rwanda, two small landlocked countries, have become the top performers in this pillar for 2016, taking over from Mauritius and South Africa, with Kenya rounding out the top 5.
Documentation and border clearance for imports into Botswana requires only eight hours on average, on par with South Korea and the United States. On the export side, compliance times are longer, though still performing above the global average. In 2016, Botswana launched its national Trade Portal, providing a streamlined online platform for access to all necessary information on import and export procedures.
Rwanda, with an annual GDP per capita of just $500, has invested significantly in improving its border procedures, including through the implementation of the electronic single window system. The Rwanda ESW has helped to cut the cost of border clearance dramatically, thereby reducing costs for trade. At the same time, businesses surveyed report low levels of irregular payments, while rating the time predictability of import procedures as high.
Neighboring Kenya recorded an over 70 percent reduction in the cost of import documentation clearance (from $550 to $115) in 2016, while the cost of border clearance remains relatively high. Similarly, in the overall perceptions of the efficiency of the clearance process as measured by the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index, Kenya has improved dramatically among countries in the ETI dataset (from 128th to 39th). Here, too, the single window has been an important component, although the prevalence of irregular payments remains a concern.
Two additional significant improvers are Ghana (8th) and Ethiopia (10th). Ghana, an economy hit by macroeconomic and foreign exchange shocks in 2015, significantly reduced the time required for border and documentation compliance by two-thirds. Time and cost for border compliance in Ethiopia are high, but it has made significant improvements in the Time predictability of procedures according to businesses surveyed, moving from 125th to 77th on this indicator.