Africa's Connectivity Challenge

Fragmentation into small-scale economies

Despite a slight improvement in the past ten years, Africa remains fragmented. Cross-border movements suffer from long delays and cumbersome procedures at borders, arbitrary transit tariffs, transport restrictions, and a lack of security for transport users. As a result, intraregional and international transport is costly, uncertain, and slow, thereby hindering trade. The situation is worst for Africa's 16 landlocked countries where transport prices account for 15 to 20 percent of import costs. Estimates indicate that reducing transport costs could lead to a whopping 25 percent increase in trade.

40% of the final price of goods
in Africa is due to high transport costs
Intra-African trade is a mere 15%
compared to 61% in Asia and 67% in Europe
56% above the world average:
the cost to import a container in Africa
Responsive image
Testimonial of Mr. Emmanuel Gouali Yoro Cabinet Director, Department of Community Territorial Administration and Transport (DATC), West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA)


SSATP's Response

Promoting integration, connectivity and cohesion

African countries have yet to seize the huge socio-economic opportunities that improved economic integration and cross-border trade and transport can unlockRecognizing that efficient transport systems are critical for boosting economic growth and development, SSATP facilitates trade and transport reforms that ultimately improve access to goods and services, thereby linking African communities to national and international markets. Closely aligned with the African Union's regional integration agenda, SSATP's support involves:

  • Promoting effective policy and strategy formulation and implementation for corridor development at the country and regional levels, including integrated corridor development and performance-based monitoring mechanisms that support evidence-based decision making.
  • Developing the institutional capacity of Regional Economic Communities (RECs), corridor management authorities, and national agencies to hold inclusive policy dialogues on regional integration.
  • Facilitating cooperation among regional institutions and advocating for policy reform at the continental level through the Regional Economic Communities' Transport Coordination Committee (REC-TCC).
  • Promoting efficient logistics services by supporting RECs and African countries with establishing legal and regulatory frameworks aimed at improving the performance of transport and logistics operators. 

The program's main activities involve conducting assessments, preparing case studies, building capacity based on stakeholder needs, disseminating best practices, and advocating for and supporting the application of knowledge.  

Towards an Integrated Africa

Achieving results on the ground

Strengthened capacity of regional port authorities: In collaboration with the respective port management associations, SSATP supported approximately 40 African ports in East, West, South and Central Africa. By preparing guidelines on the concession of port container terminals, SSATP helped strengthen the capacity of policymakers and port authorities to understand key issues at stake when preparing and managing container terminal concessions, with the goal of maximizing the economic benefits that countries can yield through concessions.

Using big data to improve corridor performance: SSATP, in close collaboration with Eastern and Southern Africa's corridor management institutions and the Federation of Eastern and Southern Africa Transport Associations (FESARTA), developed a web-based Truck Monitoring System (TMS) for analyzing border crossing and route trucking times using GPS data obtained from truck fleet management and customs tracking systems. Currently, the TMS covers 42 border posts and 50 routes across East and Southern Africa, with additional routes under consideration. 

workers at port container terminal in Mauritius

Featured Publication

The West and Central Africa Trucking Competitiveness working paper sheds light on trucking sector inefficiencies in the region, and presents an analytical framework to assess trucking sector reforms, with an emphasis on the political economy and feasibility of implementation.

A Beacon of Transport Knowledge

Strengthening institutional capacities

As part of its knowledge agenda, SSATP focuses on strengthening the capacity of RECs, corridor management authorities, national agencies, and regional logistics service providers, providing the tools needed to monitor and understand the root causes of poor performance along regional corridors.

Working in close cooperation with the Regional Economic Communities' Transport Coordination Committee (REC-TCC), SSATP aims to ensure that sound transport policies are implemented and harmonized at the continental, regional and country levels. By convening key stakeholders who work on trade facilitation in Africa, the REC-TCC serves as an important forum for exchanging experience and good practices, as well as effectively coordinating programs and activities on the ground.

On a regular basis, SSATP produces publications that document the work undertaken in collaboration with member countries; highlight policy recommendations, good practices and lessons learned across the continent; and address knowledge gaps in the transport sector. 

Toward a Data-Driven Understanding of Trade and Transport Corridors

This SSATP working paper is an evaluative exploration into the utilization of transport corridor…

Status of Digitalization and Policy Impediments in African Ports

This SSATP working paper explores the challenges and opportunities related to digitalization in…

Digitalization in African Ports: National Fact Files

The National Fact Files for Maritime Digital Maturity, a key output of the African Ports…

Latest News & Events

Unlocking Trade & Transport Corridors in Africa: A Data-Driven Approach

June 25, 2024 

Transport corridors in Africa are vital for trade and mobility, yet they face challenges that hinder their efficiency and effectiveness. Recognizing this, the Africa Transport Policy Program Fourth…

Online Webinar
WEBINAR: Leveraging Digitalization for African Ports - Insights and Pathways

April 17, 2024 

Click to Register Leveraging digital solutions to enhance performance along regional transport corridors is a key focus of the Africa Transport Policy Program Fourth Development Plan (SSATP DP4-2022…

Enabling Fact-Based Policy Dialogue through the Corridor Performance Monitoring System

July 15, 2021 

The Corridor Performance Monitoring System (CPMS) – known formally as the Truck Monitoring System (TMS) - is a custom-developed reporting platform commissioned by the USAID, SSATP, and the World Bank…