For historic reasons, bilateral and regional trade in Africa has been hampered by trade routes designed for export away from the continent rather than for facilitating intra-Africa trade. Obstacles include long distances, inadequate transport services, and inefficient institutional and transit regimes.
In many landlocked African countries, economic centres are located several hundred kilometres away from the closest seaport. Overcoming geographic constraints or the lack of economies of scale caused by small transportation volumes is key for all countries, particularly transit countries. A renewed focus on the efficiency of transport and logistics services is long overdue, given that many countries retain policies that favour closed, small, and inefficient services markets.
By committing to no new barriers to services trade during the progressive liberalization process, at least in the five priority sectors—business, communication, financial, transport, and tourism services, and with declining trade costs—the transport sector is bound to expand.