An assessment of the trade facilitation efforts within SADC: The case of Walvis Bay dry port
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The study assesses the trade facilitation efforts in SADC and examines how the establishment of the Walvis Bay dry port will help in facilitating trade. Qualitative methodology was used in the study. Documentary search and in-depth interviews with key informants were used to collect data. Data was analysed by employing thematic sub-headings to present research findings. This study argued that ineffective implementation of protocols and agreements in SADC hampers or retards trade facilitation. International economic relations theories such as regionalism and liberalism guided the study. The study was guided by the assumptions proffered by these theories that larger markets can be created through integration of single economies and that this leads to improved trade volumes. Liberalisation of economies ensures free flow of goods and services. The study examines the trade facilitation measures within the SADC region and the challenges encountered in their efforts to facilitate the smooth flow of goods and services. The study revealed that the SADC region in terms of legal instruments and initiatives to promote trade facilitation is among the leading regions. However, the implementation of the same initiatives is the major obstacle to trade facilitation efforts. The SADC region provides the highest number of landlocked countries at the same time traditional ports face a number of challenges that include congestion, high port charges, and cargo safety. The Walvis Bay dry port facility sought to provide landlocked Zimbabwe with unrestricted access to the sea for her imports and exports. The study concludes that in as much as SADC is good at adopting regional protocols, implementation remains the major challenge. Effective trade facilitation efforts in the region requires an integrated approach which takes into account tariff barriers and non tariff barriers on the border as well as after the border barriers. The study however concluded that due to financial constraints to develop the dry port, similar challenges faced at traditional ports will hinder the effective operation of the dry port.