Sector/ Subsector: Arab connectivity and trade facilitation
Implementing Agency: UNDP
Project’s Partner (s): Egypt, Kuwait, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Swedish International Cooperation Agency (Sida), ITFC, IsDB, UNDP
Brief Description: Economic and trade competitiveness of Arab countries will improve on the basis of more efficient and on-time logistics/trade and transport services, concretely through reduction of trade costs and simplification of trade and trade-related procedures. UNDP partnered with countries in the design and adoption of modernized procedures of management of cross borders operations and an introduction of an integrated platform or information processing for trade facilitation such as the National Single Window. Improvement on Arab connectivity is seen as one of the major foundations in the promotion of Arab economic integration.
|Overall Result:||Egypt and Sudan adopted the Action Plan and technical models of the joint pilot aimed at simplification of procedures and reduction of trade costs along the trade/transport corridor linking Sudan, Egypt, Jordan and potentially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. To assist the implementation, the Steering Committee of border management at Qustol of Egypt was activated with Terms of Reference, Work Program, and coordination mechanisms. Intensive consultations with Egypt and Sudan were held with regard to the introduction of new policies of facilitation of movement of goods.
Consultations were completed with Jordan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on activities of the said trade/transport corridor. Awareness on Trade Facilitation and Arab connectivity was enhanced. UNDP also conducted an assessment of needs of trade-related infrastructure for the development of three draft bankable projects of Egypt, Jordan, and Sudan.
Around more than 200 officials of Egypt and Sudan benefitted of activities from capacity building in trade facilitation, customs modernization and strategic planning for development of a National Single Window. Conducted need assessments in targeted countries.
|Target Countries:||Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia|
|Start date:||March 2014|
|End date:||December 2014|
|Expected Results:||Joint Customs control procedures are developed and piloted at two pairs of border posts (Egypt-Sudan) and (Jordan-Saudi Arabia).|
|Expected impact:||Introduction and adoption of international practices have effectively assisted the countries in upgrading their operational practices and procedures to the global standards aimed at reduction of costs and integration of border controls for facilitation of legitimate trade.
An introduction of trade facilitating measures into trade and trade-related policies (Customs and border control agencies) is essential for the enhanced competitiveness of target Arab countries, particularly in making Arab exports more competitive in the first stage.
A new model of governance of programs of regional economic integration is required to secure timely implementation with strong ownership and commitments of Arab countries.
|Approved budget:||$ 859,432|
|List of deliverables||Deliverable 1: Developed the Technical Models of cross border operations for Egypt and Sudan and the Action Plan. They are adopted by the countries.
Deliverable 2: Consolidate all needs of technical assistance and requirements of enhancement of trade-related infrastructure of Egypt, Jordan, and Sudan with national authorities. Consultations were also held with Saudi Arabia on the cooperation program.
Deliverable 3: Adopted the Work Plan of assistance by UNDP to the Egypt Customs Authority and conducted specialized training for Sudan Customs.
Deliverable 4: Provided technical support (preparation of technical documentation) and logistics of the First Meeting of the Egyptian Steering Committee for the conduct of the pilot modernization of cross border operations with concrete decisions and directions.
Deliverable 5: Conducted two trainings on customs matters for sixty officials of the Customs Department of Sudan. One national conference on Trade Facilitation for Egypt.
Deliverable 6: Completed and submitted three drafts bankable projects of management of cross border operations of Egypt, Jordan, and Sudan.
Deliverable 7: Conducted assessment of conditions for the design of the Egypt National Single Window.
Deliverable 8: Held consultations with relevant authorities of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on cross border initiatives and interventions of trade policy reform with concrete inputs and results.
|Main Lessons learnt:||Lesson 1: Adoption of international standards and new procedures and formalities is strategic for integration of Arab economies into the global economy. Trade facilitation is one of the key areas that assist tightening Arab economic integration and most of the Arab countries have key interest on it as one of the basis for economic diversification and competitiveness. UNDP has achieved structured alignment of activities to the national socio-economic development agenda of the countries.
Lesson 2: It is essential to improve existent regulations and policies with a focus on effective and timely implementation. To that end, the following dimensions
should be addressed: i) Advanced technical design; ii) building the technical capability and updating knowledge of officials and end users on operational procedures on continuous basis; iii) setting up work groups representing various agencies, comprised of officials and experts from line ministries; and iv) promotion of discussions and exchange of views in modernizing the regulatory framework and adoption of forward looking policies at national and regional level. A new model of governance of regional programs is required.
Lesson 3: Getting clear understanding of needs of beneficiary countries is essential to secure design of responsive activities.
|Recommendation (s) for follow-up:||Reinforcing the national ownership of project activities is a prerequisite for effective implementation and sustainability of activities of Arab connectivity. It is recommended to consult officials and end users on their annual priorities and key interest in the function of specific initiatives.
Reform will be only delivered to adequate institutions or working groups. Therefore, institutional bodies like Steering Committees at the national level play a key role to secure the program works for the countries. For their efficiency, it is important to keep them updated of contemporaneous development in the global economy and identify linkages to national programs.
Training and capacity building should be part of a comprehensive package of reform and be delivered within a program of policy reform and modernization.
Promotion of sharing of experiences and information on successful exercise and practices is very important as evidenced by exercises undertaken by Egypt, Sudan, and Jordan.