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e-freight in Africa

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​e-freight progress in Africa

IATA has been working on several engagement programs on the implementation of the e-freight initiative across Africa.
The main factors for the success of the e-freight initiatives are Information technology readiness of the stakeholders (Freight forwarders, Customs, Airlines etc.) and the establishment of the regulatory framework including ratification of international treaties that support the e-freight initiative. 
When it comes to Africa, efficient IT is still a challenge and there is lack of readiness from the regulatory environment which includes customs authorities that are entirely depending on paper documents in the handling of air cargo. 
In terms of the regulatory framework, in Sub- Saharan Africa 47% of countries have ratified MC99 and 25% have ratified the MP4. However almost all of the countries in the sub-Saharan region have signed the WCO SAFE framework of standards that commit member states to use IT and electronic commerce to the greatest possible extent to enhance customs control. 
The ratification of the MC99/MP4 and inefficient IT system are slowing down the speedy adoption of e-AWB initiative in the region. Nonetheless IATA is lobbying states to sign those international conventions that favor the adoption of e-freight and discussing with local authorities about the importance of customs modernization. 
Extensive customs modernization programs are on-going in different countries in the region such as Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Cote D'Ivoire etc. 

  

The region's performance on the e-AWB penetration for the month of May, 2016 stands at 54%. The top three performances come from Ethiopia, Mauritius and Kenya respectively. According to an IATA report for the same month listing the top 10 best performing airlines in the world - Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways included.
 
There are different engagements and activities going on in the region to meet the global target of 56% penetration rate by the end of this year. Since 2015, IATA has been engaging with stakeholders in South Africa, Nigeria, Mauritius, Uganda, Cote D'Ivoire, Kenya and Ethiopia on the e -AWB initiatives. These engagements with the stakeholders have resulted in the endorsement of 4 airport e-AWB standard operating procedures (SOPs) in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Addis Ababa and Nairobi. Additional four e-AWB SOPs are also on the endorsement process in Abidjan, Lagos, Entebbe and Mauritius. 

Another major milestone has been in South Africa. The e-AWB360 action group has been formed by the six airlines participating in the e-AWB360 campaign from Johannesburg Airport. The objective of the campaign is to accelerate the adoption of e-AWB and reach 100% penetration by September 30, 2016. These six participating airlines in the e-AWB360 campaign out of Johannesburg are Saudia, Qatar airways, AirFrance/KLM, Cathy Pacific and Lufthansa.
It is believed that the e-AWB360 campaign will provide additional motivation for selected airports to reach 100% penetration. Currently, Addis Ababa airport is leading with 92.6% penetration rate followed by Mauritius at 67.5% and Nairobi at 61.5%. 

  

The challenge on e-AWB360 campaign is coming from freight forwarders who are resisting to change their internal process and adopt e-AWB. The signing of the multilateral e-AWB agreement   by freight forwarders is slow despite different awareness creation meeting with them in different countries as the signing of the agreement is a pre-requisite to start e-AWB.

Government support for e-freight has already been acquired from the major markets in the region which are South Africa, Ethiopia and Kenya. IATA is closely working with stakeholders in these three countries to get e-freight endorsement for the locations. Local working group meetings have been held in South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia to endorse the respective countries as an e-freight ready location. IATA regional cargo team had meetings with Customs authority management in these countries and is currently working on the detail location assessment to determine the status of the location and proceed to either closing the gaps if found or proceed to endorsement through the local working groups.

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