Ten countries sign alliance for e-commerce

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Ten African countries have signed up to the "Pan African Alliance for E-Commerce," a new ICT based program launched by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

The Alliance hopes to establish and encourage the use of “Single Window” across the continent, which is an electronic platform where traders undertake transactions online. The system is believed to reduce the need for paperwork.

The main aim of the alliance is said will intensify cooperation and initiate common projects of interest to African countries and sub-regions. Senegal, Tunisia and Mauritius have such platforms, dramatically reducing the time it takes to clear customs in those countries.

So far 10 African countries have signed with the alliance while a number of other countries are expected to join the alliance in the next few months Ibrahim Nour Eddine Diane, president of executive committee of the alliance, told journalists at the launching ceremony this week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Cameron, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, DR Congo, Ghana, Morocco, Gabon, Libya, Togo and Kenya were listed as the 10 countries that have signed with the alliance.

It is the first of its kind on the continent, and the signatories hope to encourage more countries to create their own single windows platforms that would become part of the wider network.

The Pan-African Alliance on e-Commerce seeks to set up a framework for exchange of Single Window experiences in Africa and establish a mechanism to assist countries in the development of Single Windows. It also plans to ensure Africa’s representation in international forums and contribute to the development of the concept at a global level.

Putting in place a platform of resources for facilitating the establishment of regional Single Windows and improving existing projects and facilitating cooperation with other regions of the world, notably through the establishment of pilot paperless projects with countries of Asia, Europe and America is also mentioned as main target of the alliance.

In addition, the alliance also acts as focal point for development partners and international institutions active in the promotion of Single Windows in Africa.

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