20 21 Facilitating Regional Trade with New Processes and Systems Simon Roberts, 35 year old truck driver from Nairobi I have been a driver for a few years now and make the journey from Nairobi, Kenya to Arusha, Tanzania, every two months. I mainly transport raw materials between the two countries. My journey should take around four and a half hours, but the border stop would add three days. This meant that I had to rent a room in a nearby house while the paperwork was being processed. My driving fee didn’t include accommodation so I was always left out of pocket. Ever since the one-stop border post started and new processes were included, my situation has dramati- cally improved. My waiting time has been cut down from two days to just two hours. Now I arrive with completed paperwork and pass through with my cargo within a day. This is good both for me as well as the businesses I deliver to. And best of all, I can now get home earlier – that means more time with my family and friends. O ne of the main objectives in EAC regional integration is the ease of moving goods within the region. For this purpose, the East African Community (EAC) has implemented the Single Customs Territory (SCT) since 2014. The SCT aims to remove duties and other restrictions and to minimise internal customs controls be- tween the Partner States. Under the SCT, all six countries are regard- ed as one Customs Territory. Prior to the implementation of the SCT, goods entering the East African region had to be cleared at every bor- der, which was costly and cumbersome. The SCT brings a great reduction of time and cost of doing business for the private sector. Thanks to the elimination of duplicate clearing processes and the streamlining and simplification of customs pro- cesses, importers do not have to engage clearing agents in each coun- try that their cargo passes through. Therefore, it takes much less time to clear and transport goods across the East African region. It now takes 7 instead of 21 days to clear and transport goods from Mombasa to Kigali and 4 instead of 18 days from Mombasa to Kampala. The EAC-GIZ programme works closelywith the EAC customs depart- ment to further streamline processes.The basis for implementation is the Regional Trade Facilitation Plan that was developed and approved in 2016. The comprehensive review of the Customs Management Act to cover the measures under the WTO Agreement on Trade Facili- tation, the development of regulations and procedures for advance rulings and fighting counterfeit goods, the Authorised Economic Operators scheme and the support to the Customs Interconnectivity System (CIS) are among the measures that are jointly implemented. Currently, each customs authority uses its own information management system, which makes the sharing of information very difficult. Information moves only in a linear manner between one system and an- other, and with an increase in data requests between the systems, this becomes hard to manage. The EAC Customs Interconnec- tivity System, a centralised online platform that facilitates the seamless flow of customs transaction data and information across the Partner States, addresses these shortcom- ings. It enables revenue authorities, ports, border posts and other key stakeholders of the SCT to send data to a centralised system, and also to retrieve information from that system. The centralised system will act as a conduit of information, making it easier for the different authorities in the Partner States to get the information they need at the time they need it. It will integrate oth- er systems in the region such as the nation- al cargo tracking systems, single windows which accommodate information to any import or export. The centralised system is also expected to connect and implement a common linkage to other systems outside the region. Simon’s Story “Moving between Kenya and Tanzania now takes two hours, it used to take two days.” Highlights & Results