Image

Introduction

Last update: 9th September 2020

The WCO ESA RPSG monitors important international metrics for each member country, most notably the World Bank’s (WB) Ease of Doing Business Trading Across Borders component. The metric records the time and cost associated with the logistical process of exporting and importing goods, which in turn provides significant insight into trading with ESA member countries.

Similarly to the WB’s EODB indices, the OECD’s Trade Facilitation Indicators (TFIs) introduced another set of useful indices to assist trade facilitation. The TFI metrics cover the full spectrum of border procedures of over 160 economies throughout the globe. These TFIs comprise fact-based variables concerning current trade-related policies, regulations, and their respective performance in practice.

Concerning countries’ logistics performance, specifically, the logistics performance index (LPI) is an advantageous index constructed by the World Bank. The aggregated LPI combines the four most recent LPI editions of each country, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018. These four years are weight-aggregated with the most recent year carrying the most value and the oldest year the least weight.

Other metrics currently being monitored include WCO’s TRSs, Customs connectivity and technological advancements, AEO uptake, and AfCFTA ratification. As the adage goes, if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it. It is, therefore, the aim of the WCO ESA RPSG to continually measure these metrics and stay abreast of the progression of each member country going forward.

Best Practices Globally


i. World Bank Ease of Doing Business - Trading Across Borders

The ease of doing business score helps assess the absolute level of regulatory performance over time, capturing the gap of each economy from the best regulatory performance. The indicators are ever-present since 2005.

It serves the countries in the regions well to keep track of these measurements, and importantly, measure their progress again the benchmark nations globally. The WB calls the benchmark the ‘distance to frontier’ score, indicating the gap between the respective government and the category leader. The following countries lead the WB Doing Business category leadings for Trading Across Borders – measuring both the time and cost to import and export. These countries act as the frontiers of these topics and indicators:


World Bank Ease of Doing Business - Trading Across Borders


Topic and Indicator

Economy Establishing Best Performance

Best Performance

Worst Performance

ESA average Performance

Time to export

Documentary compliance (hours)

Canada; Poland; Spain

1 hour

170 hours

49 hours

Border compliance (hours)

Austria; Belgium; Denmark

1 hour

160 hours

58 hours

Cost to export

Documentary compliance (US$)

Hungary; Luxembourg; Norway

$0

$400

$123

Border compliance (US$)

France; Netherlands; Portugal

$0

$1,060

$402

Time to import

Documentary compliance (hours)

Republic of Korea; Latvia; New Zealand

1 hour

240 hours

63 hours

Border compliance (hours)

Estonia; France; Germany

1 hour

280 hours

76 hours

Cost to import

Documentary compliance (US$)

Iceland; Latvia; United Kingdom

$0

$700

$158

Border compliance (US$)

Belgium; Denmark; Estonia

$0

$1,200

$465



As a collective region, the ESA region remains significantly behind the frontier countries as far as trading across borders is concerned. Alarmingly, some ESA countries have the worst performance across these metrics. Also evident is the continued restrictive nature in countries, with imports taking longer and costing more than exports.

ii. OECD’s Trade Facilitation Indicators

Trade facilitation indicators refer to a specific set of measures that streamline and simplify the technical and legal procedures for products entering or leaving a country. To measure these indicators, the OECD has developed a set of trade facilitation indicators (TFIs) that identify areas for action and enable the potential impact of reforms to be assessed.

The OECD TFIs cover the full spectrum of border procedures for more than 160 economies across different income levels, geographical regions, and levels of development. Each TF indicator is composed of several specific, precise, and fact-based variables related to existing trade-related policies and regulations and their implementation in practice. The indicators are the following:

  • Information availability
  • Involvement of the trade community
  • Advance rulings
  • Appeal procedures
  • Fees and charges
  • Documents
  • Automation
  • Procedures
  • Internal border agency co-operation
  • External border agency operation
  • Governance and impartibility

Currently, the 10 “trade facilitative countries” as per the OECD’s TFI are the Netherlands, Korea, Hong Kong, the US, Norway, France, Germany, Sweden, Singapore, and Ireland.

The following map illustrates the average trade facilitation performance across the globe.

OECD’s Trade Facilitation Indicators


Image

Source: OECD’s TFI


iii. World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index (LPI)

The WB’s LPI is an interactive benchmarking tool created to help countries identify the challenges and opportunities they face in their performance on trade logistics and what they can do to improve their performance.

The Aggregated LPI combines the four most recent LPI editions. Scores of the six components across 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018 LPI surveys used to generate a “big picture” to indicate countries’ logistics performance better. This approach reduces random variation from one LPI survey to another and enables the comparison of 167 countries. The aggregated LPI for each year’s scores in each component is then weighted. 6.7% for 2012, 13.3% for 2014, 26.7% for 2016, and 53.3% for 2017. In this way, the most recent data carries the highest weight. The Aggregated LPI allows for comparisons across 167 countries.

This table indicates the top 10 performing countries in terms of the Aggregated LPI:


World Bank LPI - Top 10 countries (2012-2018)


#

Country

LPI Score

Customs

Infrastructure

International Shipments

Logistics Competence

Tracking & Tracing

Timeliness

1

Germany

4.19

4.09

4.38

3.83

4.26

4.22

4.40

2

Netherlands

4.07

3.97

4.23

3.76

4.12

4.08

4.30

3

Sweden

4.07

3.95

4.22

3.88

4.04

4.02

4.32

4

Belgium

4.05

3.74

4.03

3.97

4.10

4.11

4.40

5

Singapore

4.05

4.00

4.14

3.72

4.08

4.05

4.34

6

UK

4.01

3.85

4.09

3.69

4.04

4.10

4.32

7

Japan

3.99

3.91

4.19

3.61

4.03

4.03

4.24

8

Austria

3.99

3.71

4.07

3.78

4.04

4.13

4.22

9

Hong Kong

3.96

3.85

4.02

3.85

3.94

3.95

4.18

10

US

3.92

3.76

4.10

3.54

3.93

4.13

4.14


Source: WB LPI


iv. WCO TRS studies globally

The WCO TRS is a strategic and internationally recognised tool for measuring the actual time required for the release and clearance of goods from the time of arrival until the physical release of cargo. The TRS, therefore, aims to find bottlenecks in the trade flow process and take necessary measures to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of border procedures. The WCO TRS Guide can be accessed on the WCO’s website, here.

To date, several countries within the ESA region has attempted a TRS study, notably Mauritius. The Mauritius Revenue Authority conducted its second TRS in 2018. Burundi has also ear-marked doing a TRS. Within a regional sense, SACU held a Regional Workshop in July 2015 concerning the preparations to conduct a TRS along the Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC). However, the TRS has not yet come to fruition.

In the greater African region, a TRS has been done in the Cape Verde Islands, Cameroon, and Sudan.

Globally, the most recent TRS was done in Brazil.

On 30 June 2020, the Secretariat of the Federal Revenue of Brazil (Receita Federal do Brasil) launched its first-ever nation-wide TRS during an online live broadcasted event attended by over 4,000 participants, including border agencies and the private sector as well as Customs administrations from across the globe. The TRS follows the WCO’s TRS Methodology and constitutes a milestone for the Brazilian Customs Administration. The TRS further enhances transparency while providing an opportunity for evidence-based dialogue between all key stakeholders to tackle the identified bottlenecks and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of border procedures.

The RPSG encourages its members to engage with their respective Customs and revenue authorities to promote doing a TRS study.

Progress in the ESA Region


i. World Bank Ease of Doing Business - Trading Across Borders

Some countries within the ESA region have significantly improved their Trading Across Borders scores in recent years. This table serves as a summary of the region’s performance.


World Bank Ease of Doing Business - Trading Across Borders (2020)


Country 2020 Documentary Compliance Border Compliance Documentary Compliance Border Compliance
Rank (/190) Score (/100) Rank ESA (/24) Time to Export (hours) Time to Import (hours) Time to Export (hours) Time to Import (hours) Cost to Export (US$) Cost to Import (US$) Cost to Export (US$) Cost to Import (US$)
Angola 174 36 21 96 96 164 72 240 460 825 1,03
Botswana 55 87 3 18 3 5 4 179 67 317 98
Burundi 169 47 20 120 180 59 154 150 1,025 109 444
Comoros 120 67 9 50 26 51 70 124 93 651 765
Djibouti 147 59 15 60 50 72 118 95 100 605 1,055
Eritrea 188 0 24 - - - - - - - -
eSwatini 35 93 1 2 4 2 3 76 76 134 134
Ethiopia 156 56 17 76 194 51 72 175 750 172 120
Kenya 117 67 8 19 60 16 194 191 115 143 833
Lesotho 40 92 2 1 1 4 5 90 90 150 150
Madagascar 140 61 13 49 58 70 99 117 150 868 595
Malawi 127 65 11 75 55 78 55 342 162 243 144
Mauritius 72 81 4 9 9 24 41 128 166 303 372
Mozambique 94 74 6 36 16 66 9 160 60 602 399
Namibia 138 62 12 90 3 120 6 348 63 745 145
Rwanda 88 75 5 30 48 83 74 110 121 183 282
Seychelles 98 72 7 44 33 82 97 115 93 332 341
Somalia 166 52 19 73 76 44 85 350 300 495 952
South Africa 145 60 14 68 36 92 87 55 73 1,257 676
South Sudan 180 26 22 192 360 146 179 194 350 763 781
Tanzania 182 20 23 96 240 96 402 275 375 1,175 1,35
Uganda 121 67 10 24 96 59 145 102 296 209 447
Zambia 155 57 16 96 72 120 120 200 175 370 380
Zimbabwe 159 54 18 99 81 88 228 170 150 285 562
Average - 59.6 - 49 63 58 76 $123 $158 $402 $465


Evident from the table is the vast difference in regulatory performance across the region, with some highly commendable practices, and others not so. Further evidence is the continued restrictive nature in countries with imports taking longer and costing more than exports.

ii. OECD’s Trade Facilitation Indicators

This table indicates the performance of ESA countries according to the OECD’s TFIs:


OECD’s Trade Facilitation Indicators - ESA countries (2019)


Country
TFI Score
ESA Rank
Angola
0.8
11
Botswana
1.2
4
Burundi
0.5
18
Comoros
0.4
19
Djibouti
0.4
19
Eritrea
-
-
eSwatini
0.7
15
Ethiopia
0.7
15
Kenya
1.3
3
Lesotho
0.8
11
Madagascar
1.0
5
Malawi
0.7
15
Mauritius
1.6
1
Mozambique
0.8
11
Namibia
0.9
6
Rwanda
0.9
6
Seychelles
-
-
Somalia
-
-
South Africa
1.6
1
South Sudan
-
-
Tanzania
0.9
6
Uganda
0.9
6
Zambia
0.8
11
Zimbabwe
0.9
6
Average
0.9
-

Source: OECD’s TFI

iii. World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index (LPI)

This table indicates the performance of ESA countries according to the Aggregated LPI:


OECD’s Trade Facilitation Indicators - ESA countries


Country
Rank
LPI Score
ESA Rank
Customs
Infrastructure
International Shipments
Logistics Competence
Tracking & Tracing
Timeliness
Angola
2.18
160
18
1.79
2.01
2.33
2.13
2.14
2.65
Botswana
2.96
58
2
2.95
2.85
2.82
2.71
2.81
3.60
Burundi
2.22
154
17
1.90
2.00
2.28
2.33
2.23
2.55
Comoros
2.51
114
11
2.58
2.27
2.47
2.32
2.67
2.74
Djibouti
2.43
126
13
2.29
2.47
2.33
2.14
2.46
2.91
Eritrea
2.11
162
20
2.05
1.89
2.12
2.19
2.09
2.31
eSwatini
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Ethiopia
2.40
131
14
2.54
2.13
2.54
2.39
2.24
2.49
Kenya
2.93
63
3
2.66
2.68
2.86
2.88
3.11
3.35
Lesotho
2.22
153
16
2.20
2.02
2.14
2.12
2.22
2.60
Madagascar
2.35
137
15
2.32
2.16
2.22
2.25
2.42
2.70
Malawi
2.69
84
8
2.58
2.56
2.61
2.76
2.65
2.99
Mauritius
2.65
91
9
2.51
2.68
2.35
2.69
2.72
2.98
Mozambique
2.59
102
10
2.45
2.22
2.86
2.38
2.62
2.98
Namibia
2.73
80
7
2.60
2.74
2.68
2.64
2.55
3.14
Rwanda
2.90
65
4
2.68
2.60
3.14
2.77
2.83
3.31
Seychelles
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Somalia
2.00
167
21
1.81
1.69
2.24
2.07
1.94
2.18
South Africa
3.51
29
1
3.29
3.39
3.53
3.42
3.56
3.85
South Sudan
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Tanzania
2.88
67
5
2.66
2.72
2.89
2.80
2.85
3.34
Uganda
2.79
72
6
2.78
2.45
2.82
2.70
2.69
3.27
Zambia
2.49
118
12
2.27
2.29
2.72
2.46
2.18
2.94
Zimbabwe
2.17
161
19
2.01
2.01
2.13
2.20
2.19
2.45
Average
2.56
109
-
2.42
2.37
2.58
2.49
2.53
2.92

Source: WB LPI

iv. AfCFTA Ratification

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) entered into force on 30 May 2019 for the 24 countries that had deposited their instruments of ratification. According to Article 23 of the AfCFTA Agreement, entry into force occurs 30 days after the 22nd instrument of ratification is deposited with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) – the designated depositary for this purpose. Since reaching the 22-country threshold when Sierra Leone and the Saharawi Republic deposited their instruments of ratification on 29 April 2019, it meant that the AfCFTA was now legal.

The following table shows the 30 African countries that have ratified the AfCFTA Agreement, as well as their date of ratification:


AfCFTA Ratification


#

Country

Date of Ratification

1

Kenya

10 May 2018

2

Ghana

10 May 2018

3

Rwanda

26 May 2018

4

Niger

08 June 2018

5

Chad

01 July 2018

6

eSwatini

01 July 2018

7

Guinea

01 July 2018

8

Uganda

28 November 2018

9

Ivory Coast

16 December 2018

10

South Africa

10 February 2019

11

Sierra Leone

29 April 2019

12

Mali

February 2019

13

Senegal

April 2019

14

Namibia

February 2019

15

Congo

10 February 2019

16

Togo

April 2019

17

Mauritania

11 February 2019

18

Djibouti

February 2019

19

Egypt

8 April 2019

20

Ethiopia

10 April 2019

21

The Gambia

16 April 2019

22

Saharawi Republic

29 April 2019

23

Zimbabwe

24 May 2019

24

Burkina Faso

29 May 2019

25

São Tomé and Príncipe

27 June 2019

26

Gabon

7 July 2019

27

Equatorial Guinea

7 July 2019

28

Mauritius

8 October 2019

29

Cameroon

31 October 2019

30

Algeria

15 December 2019

31

Somalia

13 August 2020

32

Zambia

26 October

33

Angola

4 November 2020

34

Nigeria

11 November 2020


Source: Tralac, updated 12 Nov 2020

Tralac AfCFTA Ratification Barometer


Tralac – the Trade Law Centre – has developed a barometer tracking the AfCFTA ratification:

Image

Source: Tralac

v. Customs Interface Platform

The following table indicates the relevant Customs Interface Platform, which respective ESA countries use.


Customs Interface Platform


Country
Customs Interface Platform
Angola
ASYCUDA
Botswana
BURS Customs Management System (CMS) - Crimson Logic
Burundi
ASYCUDA
Comoros
ASYCUDA
Djibouti
ASYCUDA
Eritrea
ASYCUDA
eSwatini
ASYCUDA
Ethiopia
ERCA Electronic Customs Management System (eCMS)
Kenya
KRA Integrated Customs Management System (iCMS)
Lesotho
ASYCUDA
Madagascar
ASYCUDA
Malawi
ASYCUDA
Mauritius
MRA Customs Management System (CMS)
Mozambique
Mozambique Customs Management System (MCMS)
Namibia
ASYCUDA
Rwanda
ASYCUDA
Seychelles
ASYCUDA
Somalia
-
South Africa
SARS Interfront Customs and Border Management Solution (iCBS)
South Sudan
-
Tanzania
Tanzania Customs Integrated System (TANCIS)
Uganda
ASYCUDA
Zambia
ASYCUDA
Zimbabwe
ASYCUDA

Source: ESA Revenue Authorities

Blog Posts