The level of intra-Africa trade is currently below 20% and its share of global trade stands at 3%. The less than 20% of intra-Africa trade is low when compared with 68.1% in Europe, 59.4% in Asia, 55% in America and 7% in Ocean, Thomas D, (2021). The 3% global share is a reduction from the 1948 global share, which was at 8%. Africa needs to boost its intra-Africa trade and increase its global share of exports.
The African Union launched the Boosting Intra-Africa Trade Action Plan (BIAT) and resolved to accelerate the implementation of the Africa Continent Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) during the 18th Ordinary Session the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union that was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January 2012. The aim was to boost the intra-Africa trade. The AfCFTA started trading on 1 January 2021.
Trade facilitation that includes the speedy movement of goods across borders at reduced costs plays a critical role in boosting intra-Africa trade. Available evidence show that in some cases, it is cheaper to move goods from overseas to African seaports than to move the same goods within Africa.
During the border economies study done in 2018, we observed that most customs brokers in SADC had not received formal customs training. Having made this observation, the Africa Centre for Customs, Excise and Trade Studies (ACCETS) embarked on a project to develop diploma courses in (1) customs and excise management, (2) freight forwarding and (3) applied taxation. The objective was to build capacity among supply chain actors with the aim of improving the level of trade facilitation in Africa.
ACCETS collaborated with the Zimbabwe Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education in developing the courses. It was a rigorous exercise that involved the following processes:
- Qualification standard development
- Skills proficiency schedule development
- Syllabus content development
- Quality checking
ACCETS will be among the institutions who will offer the actual training while examination and certification will be done by the Zimbabwe Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education`s Higher Education Examination Council (HEXCO). ACCETS took this deliberate move to ensure quality assurance and that the qualifications become internationally recognised.
The courses are open to both local and foreign students. Foreign students will have an option to either attend lessons online or attend lessons in person (block release).
ACCETS is already working on introducing a diploma in trade law and policy.