TRADERS SAVE $6.6M AS EAST AFRICAN TRADE BODIES AUTOMATE KEY TRADE PROCESSES

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A cross section of importers and exporters across East Africa are now spending less time and incurring less transactional fees when trading says a recent evaluation report of 6 online portals in East Africa.
The evaluation estimates that six online portals have contributed a net savings of up to US$ 6.6 million for traders in East Africa, reduced operational costs, improved document management due to e-storage and improved effectiveness and efficiency.
Currently, the evaluated portals have on average reduced clearance time from 3.3 days to 2 hours and costs by an average of $62 per transaction from US$72 to US$ 10.
Since going live, a total of 38908 transactions have been made over the six portals between 2013-2016, with combined transaction costs reducing from $2,801,376 to $389,080. In addition, the agencies have reduced processing time for both import and export from 79 hours (3.3 days) to only 2 hours, on aggregate.
The evaluated portals were supported by TradeMark East Africa’s Single Window Information for Trade (SWIFT) programme and included 6 portals – Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (KNCCI) portal, and the Tea Directorate (TD); in Rwanda the Ministry of Agriculture (RALIS – MinAgri), and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) portals; in Tanzania the Tanzania Food and Drug Authority (TFDA) while in Uganda, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) portal.
“Single Window Information for Trade programme has helped reduce time taken to acquire trade documents by eliminating periods of process inactions which are inevitable with manual processes. Consequently, transactional costs incurred in the process of acquiring trade regulatory documents have also reduced through automating processes that previously necessitated physical movement to government offices. Now traders can access this important service from anywhere in the world. Doing so contributes to TMEA’s mandate of reducing costs and time taken while trading, and complements our other work such as infrastructure at ports that is reducing barriers to trade,” says Frank Matsaert, CEO, TradeMark East Africa.   “The programme has also increased stakeholder confidence and trust in the management of trade regulatory documents by increasing process transparency and predictability,” he adds.
The independent report demonstrates that information communication technology (ICT) positively impacts businesses and economies by transforming trade systems and procedures, making them simpler, accessible, more transparent, efficient and predictable.
Automating key government trade processes and systems has  been hailed as  an important building block in  meeting  East Africa’s key trade needs.
TMEA’s vision in the region is to expand the trade digital footprint to 100% thereby creating a future where all East Africa trade transactions and supporting services are done digitally from end-to-end.

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