The African Union Commission (AUC), Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Afreximbank, have jointly established a task force to develop a harmonised methodology for informal cross-border trade data collection.
According to them, timely data collection on informal cross-border trade is key to informing intra-African trade on the back of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade (AfCFTA) and despite its importance to the livelihoods of millions of Africans, informal trade is still not well understood.
Speaking at an online meeting to review and validate the Continental Methodology for Informal Cross-Border Trade Data Collection in Africa, Director, Regional Integration and Trade, ECA, Stephen Karingi, said informal cross-border trade is a key feature of Africa’s trade landscape. Findings show ICBT to be equivalent to between seven and 16 per cent of all formal intra-African trade flows and between 30 and 72 per cent of formal trade between neighbouring countries.
He noted that current efforts to collect data on ICBT within the continent remain largely fragmented and unsystematic, emphasising that the dearth of reliable and regular data on ICBT has contributed to minimal recognition of its important role in policy frameworks.
Trade Policy Officer for the AUC, Tapiwa Cheuka, speaking on behalf of the Director of Economic Development, Tourism, Trade, Industry and Mining Department, AUC, Djamel Ghrib, said that the validated ICBT methodology will be presented to the Specialised Technical Committees (STCs) on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration next month with the anticipation for its adoption by the Heads of State and Government at the African Union Summit next year.