African countries move ahead in establishing new electronic trade systems

Over 150 Customs and government officials, international organizations and the private sector met in Antananarivo, Madagascar from 16 to 18 September 2013 to take stock of progress made in Africa with regard to the establishment of Single Window environments and to discuss new projects and initiatives.  The International Single Window Conference & Exhibition also offered participants the opportunity to meet with the private sector and view new trade-related technologies and systems. 

                              Madagascar’s TradeNet System

Madagascar’s TradeNet System TradeNet (developed by the Malagasy
Community Network Services in collaboration with CrimsonLogic -
Singapore) is an electronic system which allows the electronic routing, the
distribution and the integration of data in a secure environment which
connects all the creditors to international business, on a common platform.
(http://www.gasynet.com/en/gasynet/46-the-tradenet-system.html  

Many of the presentations focused on the development of Single Windows and its benefits to the region, including the ability to: trace and better control goods in trade, establish more secure legal systems and increase collection of tax revue.  The progress made by many countries, Ghana, Madagascar, Mozambique and Nigeria, among many others, in the establishment of electronic trade documentation and cutting-edge Single Window environments highlighted the efforts made by the region to fight illicit trade and to facilitate legal trade.

Equally important were the ideas and proposals made by participants  to share technologies and work toward development of a regional African Single Window.  Participants welcomed the presentation by the CITES Secretariat and agreed on the need to work with CITES authorities to facilitate the inclusion of CITES permits and certificates in national Single Window environments.

Mr. John E. Scanlon, CITES Secretary-General, was enthusiastic  about the efforts made by African countries to use new technologies to better control trade. In his comments on the conference he stated  that “there are tangible benefits of establishing Single Windows in the African region. The Single Window will mean countries are able to better manage and trace trade in wildlife. Countries now have the tools to help ensure that trade in CITES-listed species is both legal and sustainable. The Secretariat will continue to support  CITES Authorities in linking with these exciting new initiatives”.

During the meeting, the CITES Secretariat met with Mr. Ibrahima Nour Eddine Diagne, Chairman of the African Alliance for e-Commerce (AACE), an organization devoted to promoting the concept of national and regional Single Windows in compliance with recommendations of international organizations, to discuss possible collaboration and joint work. There was agreement to seek greater collaboration and to provide lead agencies developing Single Windows with more information on CITES trade procedures.
Speaking on the discussions held with the Secretariat, Mr. Diagne said “The participation of CITES in this conference provides many opportunities for collaboration.  In this regard, the African Alliance for Electronic Commerce looks forward to discussions with CITES on establishing joint efforts to assist African countries on dematerializing CITES permits and making them available through Single Windows”.

The conference also saw the launch of the publication “Guidelines for Single Window implementation in Africa,” published by the AACE.  The Guide provides information on establishment of Single Windows in Africa and in other regions of the world. English and French copies of the Guide are available at: http://www.swguide.org/single_window/index.php.

More information on the conference is available at: http://conferencesw.org/uk/sponsors.php