Despite the challenges of getting back to business-as-usual as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the establishment of Eswatini’s first-ever trade information portal is progressing as planned and scheduled to go live at the end of September.
The Eswatini Trade Information Portal (ETIP) will be a single authoritative source of reference for a range of information related to international trading in Eswatini. The main objective of the Eswatini Trade Information Portal is to make it easier for traders and investors to comply with regulatory requirements associated with the import and export of goods. This will help the country to be compliant with the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which came into force in February 2017.
Access to information and understanding of the required regulatory procedures to import and export is a major barrier to the private sector, especially for smaller firms and new market entrants. The ETIP is expected to bring a very timely service to the business community especially in these uncertain times due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The portal will provide up-to-date information on regulatory requirements and procedures related to import and export, which will significantly reduce the need to physically visit different offices for guidance and the risk of reducing the virus.
Importers and exporters have been negatively affected as moving from one agency to another to collect information is limited to curb the spread of the virus. However, the portal will serve as an effective way of addressing this challenge by providing a convenient and cost-effective means of gathering information. The Eswatini Trade Information Portal will play a key role in supporting businesses in engaging with international trade and recovery from COVID-19.
With over 460 legal documents uploaded from more than 19 government and public sector agencies, the Eswatini Trade Information Portal (ETIP) is ready for launch. To date, 99.6% of the portal’s content has been uploaded and validated, with the most recent content validation meeting having taken place at the on the 26th of August.
Ecorys UK together with Imani Development are offering technical support for the data collection and implementation of the Eswatini Trade Information Portal. Support for the portal is provided by the World Bank Group with funding from the Trade Facilitation Support Program (TFSP). The TFSP is funded by nine donor partners: Australia, Canada, the European Commission, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States, and the United Kingdom. This initiative—implemented by IFC and the World Bank—provides assistance to countries seeking to align their trade practices with the WTO TFA.
To learn more, visit the portal’s pre-launch site: www.eswatinitradeportal.com