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Facilitating Expansion of African International Trade through Information and Communication Technologies

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Abstract This article observes that expansion of international trade, particularly exports of appropriate goods, by African economies is important to their growth and development. Unfortunately, Africa’s share of world trade has been decreasing rather than increase. The continent is behind other continents in developmental terms, despite its many resource endowments. Governance deficiencies (broadly defined) are a major cause of the inability of African economies to manage their resources for sustained growth and development. The article looks at the particular consequences of governance deficiencies on trade expansion and goes on to suggest that the deployment of ICT can ameliorate those deficiencies. It focuses on the potential positive impact of e-governance in general, and e-customs in particular, on trade expansion. It argues that e-governance, including e-customs, has the potential to enhance the international competitiveness of African economies, increase revenues for government, and increase FDI inflows for production and exportation. It concludes that while e-customs is not a panacea for Africa’s international trade under-performance, it is an important piece of infrastructure that is relatively easier and cheaper to build, but which has a high beneficial impact on trade expansion. It therefore recommends the implementation of efficient e-customs in African economies that do not yet have such systems.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Law, Monash University Wellington Road, Clayton, VIC Australia


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