1The economic integration agenda being implemented at the level of the three Regional Economic Communities of COMESA, EAC and SADC has prioritised programmes addressing trade and transport facilitation challenges with the aim of lowering costs of doing business and improving the competitiveness of products from the eastern and southern African region. Such programmes encompass regulatory and policy reforms encouraging the adoption of international instruments and best practices; national and regional capacity building programmes to facilitate cross-border movements; and enhancement of infrastructure facilities at border posts to improve efficiency of cross-border movements.
While COMESA, EAC and SADC have had some successes in facilitating trade through such programmes, there have been challenges of limited implementation at national level and the requirements to implement different programmes and different instruments in countries that belong to more than one Regional Economic Community. There is also a multiplicity of International Cooperating Partners active in the field of transport and trade facilitation and there is a need for the Tripartite Task Force to provide guidance and leadership so as to ensure harmonisation of the programmes of Regional Economic Communities and International Cooperation Partners so that they complement each other rather than compete against each other.
To address these challenges the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite has launched the Comprehensive Trade and Transport Facilitation Programme (CTTTFP) which is a series of initiatives from different Regional Economic Communities that have been brought together into one large integrated trade facilitation programme that includes The NTB Monitoring, Reporting and Removal System; Border and Customs procedures (one-stop border posts; Integrated Border Management, regional customs bond, transit management); Immigration procedures; Transport procedures (regional 3rd party insurance, vehicle standards and regulation, self-regulation of transporters, overload control, harmonised road user charges, regional corridor management systems; and The establishment of the Joint Competition Authority linked to air transport liberalisation.
The objectives to be addressed through the CTTTFP are to Increase trade and promote economic growth in Eastern and Southern Africa by supporting improvements in policies and in the regional regulatory and economic environment; Reduce high costs of trading in the region and help the national administrations, working through the RECs, to address barriers to trade and growth; Reduce transit times and transaction costs along the principal corridors in eastern and Southern Africa through better infrastructure, faster border crossings and harmonised trade and transit regulations; and Improve aid effectiveness by coordinating donor funding for priority Aid-for-Trade programmes.