Regional overview: Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa is the region that has improved the most in 2016, on the back of significant improvements in market access (particularly foreign) and ICT adoption, where, however, it still lags behind the rest of the world, thus increasing its gap. All but four countries in the region (Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon and Mauritania) have improved their ETI score with respect to two years ago. Mauritius’s performance has stalled, causing the country to slip nine ranks to 39th (still top in the region) while, with an increase in score of 0.5 and an advancement in the ranking of 11 positions to 120th, Liberia was the most improved country in the region and among the most improved globally, thanks mostly to easier market access following its accession to the WTO. The performance of Lesotho (80th, up 11), Uganda (84th, up 11), Senegal and Rwanda (50th, up 10) was also particularly positive. Lack of infrastructure and poor quality of transport services also remain two of the key bottlenecks to Sub-Saharan Africa’s participation in international trade, making results’ distribution for these two pillars the most skewed towards the bottom of the ranking (25 out 30 Sub-Saharan countries covered in the ETI are in the bottom half of the pillar 4 and 5 rankings, and far behind South Africa, best performer in both dimensions at 29th and 35th, respectively).
Focus on sub-Saharan African economies (in rank order)
South Africa has improved its ranking slightly from the previous ETI iteration, coming in 55th overall and 3rd overall for Sub-Saharan Africa, behind Mauritius and Rwanda. South Africa’s infrastructure remains the continent’s most advanced, earning good marks across air, rail, road and port measures. The Port of Durban is the region’s busiest, handling close to 3 million TEUS annually, and the country’s road network ranks well globally. South Africa enjoys a competitive transport and logistics sector, with strong scores for the ease and reliability of shipments, and has seen an improvement in the efficiency of its inter-modal system. However, in terms of the country’s performance of customs and border agencies in enabling trade, the time and cost of documentary and border compliance remain high on both the import and export side, although the efficiency clearance process has improved slightly since 2014.
Kenya moves up by 10 places, coming in at 77th in the 2016 ETI, driven by a marked improvement in the efficiency of border processes, as well as gains in infrastructure. On the border administration pillar, Kenya moves up 24 places to 76th, driven by a significant improvement in the efficiency of its clearance processes, reducing the cost of documentary compliance for imports from $550 to $115. Despite these gains, the time required for compliance remains high, and irregular payments remain a key concern for business. Kenya performs well in terms of the availability of transport infrastructure, and has a well-developed offer of transport and logistics services. Continued investment at the Port of Mombasa will help to enable both global and intra-regional trade, especially as Kenya’s exports enjoy preferential access in a number of key markets.
Ghana ranks 100th in this year’s ranking. Ghana has taken significant steps forward to facilitate trade, moving up 26 places in the border administration ranking. The country has removed its mandatory pre-arrival assessment inspection requirement, helping to cut the time for import documentary compliance by 70 percent, and is making improvements to its electronic single window, which will help to reduce the burden for traders over the coming years. At the same time, investment in its transport and ICT infrastructure will be critical to maintain the momentum, with a significant expansion planned for the Port of Tema, a key hub for the region. The share of Ghanaians with mobile internet subscriptions has doubled, with over two-thirds now having active subscriptions. Access to Ghana’s market remains an issue, with goods facing an average tariff of over 10 percent, although the tariff structure is relatively straightforward.