SACU is working to simplify border procedures to ease intra-regional trade

Trade facilitation is largely used to improve the regulatory interface between government bodies and traders at national borders. Its primary goal is to reduce the transaction costs and complexity of international trade for business and improve the trading envi- ronment in a region, while optimising efficient and effective levels of government control and revenue collection.

Trade facilitation relates to a comprehensive and integrated approach aimed at developing a consistent, transparent and predictable environment in which international trade transactions take place, and facilitates the movement of goods across borders.

The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) heads of state and government have identified trade facilitation as one of the key priority areas to underpin the SACU work programme. Facilita- ting the cross-border movement of goods within the customs union is essential to ensure that intra-SACU trade increases. It is essential as SACU seeks to promote the regional industrialisation through the development of regional value chains.


Within SACU, trade facilitation has traditionally consisted of two interrelated but distinct parts: the SACU-WCO Customs Development Programme, which incorporates the five key customs initiatives, and the Transport Sector Programme. More specific areas include customs reform and modernisation; promoting greater customs co-operation; the removal of non-tariff trade barriers, and enhancing the role of transport in trade facilitation.

SACU initiated a joint programme with the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) in January 2010. The SACU-WCO Customs Development Programme’s goal is to contribute to the development of a sustainable and improved economy in SACU with regard to trade, security and social protection through development of the customs authorities as fair and effective trade management partners.

The programme aims to assist the SACU member states to comply with international customs instruments and modernise their respective customs administrations. The specific objective is to assist the customs administrations in the SACU region to design and implement a comprehensive regional reform programme with a focus on policy development; legislation; risk management; trade partnerships; standard operating procedures in common areas, and IT connectivity.

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