African Forum for National Trade Facilitation Committees

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The first of its kind, an African Forum for National Trade Facilitation Committees: Empowering Public-Private partnership for trade facilitation was held at UNECA's Conference Center, Addis Ababa from 27 to 29 November 2018.

Over 300 participants from both the public and private sector as well as donors and regional and international organizations were in attendance.

The forum was part of UNCTAD's continued efforts to support African states in their national and regional Trade Facilitation reforms in cooperation with the International Trade Centre, United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), United Nations Commission for Africa, World Bank Group, World Customs Organization and the World Trade Organization, among other organizations.

In addition, the forum aimed to be a reference point for African trade, allowing stakeholders from the public and private sector to work towards the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

The Forum’s objectives were knowledge sharing, the promotion of best practices and matchmaking. To that regard, international experts were invited to update participants on the latest WTO TFA implementation trends at both the national and regional level as well as the latest technologies such as trade portals, blockchain and more. Customs officers, policy makers and private sector representatives from 54 African countries also shared their success stories and lessons learned during the course of their implementation of Trade Facilitation reforms.

Participants also had the opportunity to meet and discuss with bilateral donors and regional/international organisations to discuss available Trade Facilitation programmes in their region. 


Successful outcomes


  • TFAF funded 27 participants, from 7 countries; Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Senegal, Togo and Zimbabwe. 11 of the 27, or just over 40% were women
  •  Overall 250 participants from 44 countries overall were in attendance
  • 94% of 100 participants (who completed an evaluation) felt the forum exceeded their expectations
  • Over 90% of 100 participants (who completed an evaluation) agreed that their understanding of the TFA had been increased by the forum
  • 1 participating Member ratified the TFA immediately following the Forum
  • 1 participating Member responded to an offer of assistance made by TFAF in its presentation and sent a draft notification requesting guidance before submitting formally
  • The final report can be found here


Relevant links

Photos from the event can be found here (Via UNCTAD) 

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