Under USAID’s Trade Facilitation and Capacity Building project, Nathan Associates is helping to boost the competitiveness of 10 countries in Southern Africa: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Zambia. Five of these belong to the Southern African Customs Union and are negotiating a free trade agreement with the United States, and all 10 are members of the WTO and eligible for benefits under the African Growth Opportunity Act. The ultimate purpose of the project is to increase economic growth in Southern Africa through four activities:
- Capacity building and policy reform
- Trade facilitation
- Financial services
- Dialogue for competitiveness
Facilitating Trade and Building Capacity
The project can already claim some fundamental achievements—the formation of a cattle farmer association in Botswana and higher prices for those farmers’ products; diagnostics and time release studies of customs processes to focus reforms in Malawi, Zambia, and Mozambique; reduction of customs processing in Mozambique from as much as 30 days to 5 days; and the introduction of a single customs declaration form in the Trans Kalahari Corridor that has cut transport costs while shortening transport times.
Sharing Knowledge in Print…
The project created “Inside Southern Africa Trade,” a quarterly devoted to trade issues and distributed in paper and electronic formats. INSAT helps regional stakeholders stay abreast of issues and define and defend their own interests, even as it counters perceptions of the region as a high-risk destination for investment.
And on Film
The project has also created five short, educational films for use throughout the region, and which could be applicable elsewhere. The brainchild of Nathan’s Chief of Party (Trade Facilitation), Lisa Yarmoshuk, the films cover:
1. The impact of trade preferences, especially of AGOA on the apparel industry, using Lesotho as a case study;
2. Business environment challenges to competitiveness;
3. Building a private sector voice for policy change, using the Botswana Cattle Producers Association as a case study;
4. Trade facilitation along the Trans-Kalahari and Maputo Transport Corridors; and
5. HIV/AIDS from a business and economic perspective.
The films are sharing best practices and inspiring and invigorating productive dialogue on trade issues at roundtables, workshops, and seminars. They premiered May 23, 2006, in Johannesburg at a business environment and advocacy roundtable for 60 public and private sector officials. Each film is accompanied by a one-page summary with questions for discussion (provided below). The films are and will continue to further broad goals for knowledge development and sharing.
Film series introduction, summaries, and discussion questions (PDF, 9 pages)
For more information about this project, contact Lisa Yarmoshuk.