African coastal countries should remove non-tariff barriers along transit corridors to ensure that landlocked countries gain easy access to the sea, a meeting of the continent’s transport experts and stakeholders in trade facilitation agreed Thursday in Kigali, Rwanda.
Held under the auspices of the Sub-Saharan Africa Transport Policy Programme (SSATP), the four-day meeting outlined measures, including establishment of transit corridor observatories, to foster trade facilitation and deepen regional integration.
The meeting, which brought together 70 participants from across the continent, placed emphasis on landlocked countries because they face particular challenges as a result of their relative isolation.
According to a statement issued by the World Bank at the end of the meeting, participants agreed to take steps to assist in harmonising regulations so that carriers operating across country boundaries are not unnecessarily impeded by differences in legal requirements
between countries and sub-regions.
Other measures considered at the meeting include setting up corridor management groups, and the preparation and distribution of a Trade Corridor Management Toolkit.
Developed by the World Bank, the toolkit will provide guidelines aimed at assisting agencies that work on corridor networks to monitor and manage their performance.
Another area of common accord was the need to develop systems for the timely collection and analysis of data on the performance of regional transport corridors. Baseline surveys are already taking place along several corridors.
In addition, it has been agreed that Regional Economic Communities (RECs) should assist in the implementation of road safety programmes, especially along major trade corridors, in support to the UN Road Safety Decade of Action (2011-2020).
The experts agreed that RECs should assist in the implementation of road safety programs, especially along major trade corridors, in support to the UN Road Safety Decade of Action (2011-2020).
Participants of the meeting included representatives of RECs, transport stakeholders from 21countries, corridor management groups, transporter associations, as well as officials from the World Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)