Trade, at both the regional and international level, takes place within the framework of trade agreements and consequently Imani works alongside governments, regional economic communities and the international donor community to strengthen agreements and assists in their practical implementation. Imani works in developing countries to facilitate trade policy that makes it quicker, cheaper and easier to move goods from country to country. To achieve this, Imani works with policymakers, trade negotiators and actual traders from the private sector. The regulation of trade at the global level is facilitated through the World Trade Organization as well as through various regional arrangements and organisations, which have become increasingly important in the globalisation of trade and trade markets.

Imani’s services in the area of international trade policy and trade facilitation:

  • Development of trade policies and trade strategies
  • Assisting governments in the negotiations of WTO rounds, specifically the Doha Development Agenda
  • Assisting governments and regional economic communities in regional trade agreements
  • Facilitating North-South trade and development negotiations such as the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs)
  • Building the capacity of governmental ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to formulate and implement trade policy strategies
  • Comprehensive impact assessments and sustainability studies of trade agreements, policies and programmes

Download our latest Trade Development Capacity Statement by clicking here.

Project Highlights:

TradeCom II – Legislative and Institutional Strengthening in Zambia (2017 – 2018)
The objectives of this assignment fall under three definitive purpose areas. The first was to Strengthen the legal and institutional framework related to trade remedies in Zambia, which was achieved by undertaking an extensive review and gap analysis of existing and proposed legislation and other trade remedies in Zambia, and prepare recommendations for harmonisation and draft bills in consultation with the Ministry of Justice. The second purpose was to Strengthen institutional capacity in trade negotiations and implementation, entailing the preparation and delivery of training programmes, the design of a negotiations toolkit, and the development of relevant negotiation positions for the TFTA, WTO TFA, and supporting implementation of i-EPA scenarios. The third purpose was to Develop a strategy for the diversification of the mining sector and export base, achieved through the development of guidelines and a marketing strategy for gold and gemstones, the development of a compliance mechanism, and a mining-sector export diversification strategy and implementation plan.

African Development Bank – Benchmarking Customs and Border Management Performance in COMESA Member States (2016 – 2017)
Measuring of the time required for merchandise crossing border is an important element to assess country’s competitiveness and to identify the situation and the needs of trade facilitation in the country. This assignment applied the WCO Time Release Study to measure and benchmark customs and border management performance in 10 COMESA Member States and their contiguous neighbour nations. Additional to this the assignment also included assisting the COMESA Secretariat and Member States in building capacity to design collection mechanisms, collect data , and improve their ability to conduct analysis and draft policy recommendations.

Department for International Development – Review of the Malawi Control of Goods Act (2015 – 2016)
A primary legislative constraint to investment and export growth in Malawi is the Control of Goods Act. The Act empowers the Minister responsible for trade to make regulations to control export and import of goods to Malawi as well as their distribution, disposal, sale and purchase. The current Act can quickly undermine policy credibility, and creates unpredictability in the markets. Imani undertook an in-depth review of the Act, which entailed detailed stakeholder consultations to understand key issues caused by it, an assessment of evidence of its impact, redrafted the Act (including substantive and procedural principles underpinning the updated Act) and prepared matrices of drafting proposals and amendments.

TradeMark East Africa – Development of 5-Year Country and Regional Cross-Border Trade Strategies (2015 – 2016)
Imani Development conducted an in-depth review of ongoing CBT projects funded by TMEA and other entities (public, private, or government) on regional and national-level for each included country. Through extensive quantitative and qualitative analysis, priority goods, services, and markets were identified as used by informal and formal cross-border traders, and special focus was given to cross-cutting analyses on poverty indicators and gender profiles. Priority borders were identified based on the results of these analyses and reviews for further investigation to establish key baselines of current CBT policies and interventions being implemented.

TradeMark East Africa – Design of New Strategy 2 (2017 – 2023) on Non-Tariff Barriers (2016)
As an issue pertinent to all trade topics, a reduction of Non-Tariff Barriers has been high on TMEA agenda at both regional and national level. Building upon the lessons learnt from TMEA’s NTB Strategy 1, Imani Development was contracted to design NTB Strategy 2 (2017 – 2023), designed in line with the TMEA Corporate Strategy 2 following the PDIA and Network Approach. The complexity of NTBs and their cross-cutting nature make the elimination an elaborate process requiring the use of multiple instruments and high level of stakeholder’s involvement. The PDIA provides explicit politically informed, problem-driven, iterative and adaptive approach in designing NTB related assistance and is strengthened by the networking approach as a method to manage complexity. Within this framework, the new strategy rationalises the current TMEA support by focusing on the areas with the highest impact on NTB elimination. As a result, it will contribute to creating a more transparent, efficient and effective NTB elimination system as a whole.

Department for International Development – Capacity Building on International Trade Negotiations Management (2015 – 2016)
Working with the Lesotho Ministry of Trade and Industry, Cooperatives, and Marketing (MTICM), the assignment’s primary goal was enhancing the Ministry’s capacity to coordinate and lead trade negotiations for the Kingdom of Lesotho. Through a range of technical assistance and capacity building activities the implementation team collaborated with Ministry staff to identify Lesotho’s key negotiating priorities, to establish the Lesotho Coordinating Committee on Trade (LCCT), and to coordinate trade negotiations through the LCCT. This included: (i) Mapping and prioritising trade agreements Lesotho is party to; (ii) Diagnostic assessments of Lesotho’s negotiating capacity and institutional frameworks; (iii) Delivering technical capacity building to improve the quality of negotiation submissions; (iv) Providing economic and legal assessments and positions papers to Lesotho’s negotiators; and, (v) the preparation of trade negotiation budgets.

African Development Bank – Study on the Impact of Implementation of the SADC Protocol on Trade (2014-2015)
This study will document the impact of the various trade reforms implemented by SADC member states in accordance with the SADC Protocol on Trade. It will ultimately aim to contribute towards influencing policy and programming decisions and directions regarding SADC’s aim of improving trade and economic integration in the region. This will also complement the AfDB’s regional integration goal in Southern and Sub-Saharan Africa of creating a fully integrated and internationally competitive region to ensure economic growth and poverty reduction. This project will include implementation of trade facilitiation measures and an assessment of the impact of key policies, projects and programmes on intra-regional trade.

South African National Treasury – One-Stop Border Posts Policy Development for South Africa (2014-2015)
This project was funded by the National Treasury and was completed in conjunction with Crown Agents. The purpose of the project is to develop a One-Stop Border Post (OSBP) National Policy for the Government of South Africa that will guide the establishment of OSBPs, ensuring that the policy is designed in a manner that can assist and guide the development and standardisation of OSBP’s between South Africa and neighbouring countries. Included is an assessment of current border operations, challenges, and problems and OSBP practices in South Africa and neighbouring countries.

Southern African Customs Union – Study to Develop a SACU Position on the SADC Rules of Origin for Trade in Textiles and Clothing Products (2013 – 2014)
The aim of this study was to assess the impact that any changes to the current SADC Rules of Origin (RoO) would have on SACU, as well as to advise SACU member states on the best RoO option – one that would not inhibit growth and development in their textiles and clothing industries while aligning their policies with international best practice.