Implementing the TFA: Trade Facilitation Activities in Zambia

Lorries blocked in Kasumbalesa, a Congolese town at the border between Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia, 13 February 2014. Image: Getty, UCIEN KAHOZI/AFP

This paper examines the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in Africa.


  • One of the advantages of having a TFA is its ability to ensure that reforms are ‘locked in’ at a global level, particularly among key government agencies that would otherwise be reluctant to implement such changes.
  • Developing and least-developed countries can allocate and notify their trade facilitation commitments based on three different categories – A, B and C. The TFA thus goes beyond non-reciprocity arrangements by providing for donor–recipient country support for trade facilitation reforms.
  • Zambia ratified the TFA in December 2015 and deposited its Category A, B and C commitments in January 2016. Its trade facilitation reform activities are primarily donor funded and supported.
  • Despite progress, Zambia’s efforts towards institutional reforms that facilitate and deepen trade facilitation reforms face various challenges.
  • It is important to have a well-trained technocratic body of government officials and private sector players that will ultimately be independent of donor-related funding and assistance to spearhead trade facilitation projects domestically.
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