African Trade Statistics 2020 Yearbook

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The African Trade Statistics Yearbook was prepared by African Union Institute for Statistics (STATAFRIC) of African Union Commission (AUC) using data provided AU Member States’ National Statistical Offices, Customs Authorities or their institutions responsible for the production and dissemination of trade statistics.

The Trade Yearbook is the result of close collaboration between STATAFRIC, statistics departments and divisions of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and National Statistical Offices, Customs authorities of AU Member states.

Significant efforts were allocated to compile trade aggregates for each of the 8 RECs and for the African Union as an all. The following six countries couldn’t provide their data: Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), Somalia and South Sudan. Compilation of trade aggregates for African Union is a first step towards harmonisation of practices and methodologies for preparation of trade statistics across AU Member States.

Compilation of trade statistics is a high priority for the African Union and its Member States. With the adoption of Agenda 2063 in 2013 and its first ten-year implementation Plan, a number of aspirations, objectives and targets are related to trade. Thus for a successful implementation of Agenda 2063, various trade policies need to be enacted upstream.

In addition, in January 2012, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union adopted a decision to establish a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) by 2017. The main objectives of the CFTA are to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business, persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Customs Union.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was planned to be operational in July 2020, due the COVID 19 Outbreak, the operationalization of AfCFTA is postponed to January 2021.

In this context harmonized and high-quality trade statistics data become very important to support trade negotiations. There is a need to get comprehensive, detailed and reliable statistics on merchandise trade in African Union. Moreover, detailed Intra and Extra African Union trade statistics are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of the measures taken by African leaders to boost Intra African trade, which have a high impact for the economic development of the continent.

Moreover, in 2016 Heads of State and Government of the AU decided to adopt a new approach towards financing the programmes of the African Union. Structured within the concept of Alternative Sources of Funds (ASF) this change in strategy aims at easing the pressure faced by national treasuries by proposing binding and non-binding non-treasury funds to be applied across all Member states. In brief, the Summit proposed an import levy of 0.2 % to be imposed on eligible imports. This would yield up to $1.4bn annually with almost 50% of it being retained at the country level. As of December 2019, 25 countries were at various stages of domesticating the Kigali Decision on Financing the Union. This represents 45% of AU membership.

The above scenarios call for reliable foreign trade statistics to be accessed by all who need them. In this regard, STATAFRIC is putting maximum effort to ensure availability of the needed statistics.

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