The main objective of these guidelines is to advise on how to approach the complex issue of competitiveness in trade, and on how to achieve cost savings in logistics by reducing the time of immobilization of freight in transit. The interaction between transport infrastructure and transport and trade logistics is such that investments in infrastructure facilities and equipment will not reduce costs unless the institutional and operational logistics moving the freight and documenting are free from institutional or physical interference. In short, regional infrastructure investments may add to a country's debt burden without contributing to cost-effectiveness. Chapter I of this report examines the historic and economic context of trade and transport logistics in Africa. This report is arranged as follows: Chapter II looks at the background of competitiveness in Africa by reviewing issues encountered in the transport of freight. The examination of issues leads to the consideration of the diseconomies in transport and trade logistics, and to the price which African economies are paying for the distortions introduced by inefficiency. Cost consideration leads to reform in policies, institutional efficiency, and logistic performance. Chapter III considers the work on facilitation carried out by the Bank and other institutions and its impact. Chapter IV offers suggestions on how to deal with issues in the logistic chain when preparing a program of reform. It also reviews the critical stages of a facilitation program, in particular identification, preparation, and execution, and the instruments available to strengthen the program's implementation. Finally, Chapter V proposes an agenda for Bank staff intervention in facilitation by reviewing experience in project work and by discussing lending implications when introducing policy reform. The report also contains various annexes, including a checklist for identification of facilitation components, customs software programs, terms-of-reference for a Trade and Transport Facilitation Committee, a summary of recommendations in corridor studies evaluation, and an evaluation of customs software programs.
SSATP Working Paper No. 4
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