The Ethiopian government has launched a new online system for customs processing that aims to make it easier for importers and exporters to move goods across the country's borders.
Ethiopia Electronic Single Window Service went live on January 5th 2020 after five years of testing and studies on its efficacy, New Business Ethiopia quotes minister of revenue Adanech Abebe as saying.
It is hoped the system will significantly enhance the trading environment and remove some of the bureaucracy surrounding customs within the nation.
Indeed, it has been claimed importers and exporters should be able to process their paperwork in 15 days, significantly less than the 44 days currently being experienced. Eventually, this may reduce still further to just three working days.
Another key feature is the ability to file paperwork featuring customs details electronically, which creators say will save traders the tedious task of physically taking documents from one office to another.
This could also result in higher levels of international trade for Ethiopia, as businesses worldwide should be able to access its facilities far more easily.
Initially, 16 companies will be using Ethiopia Electronic Single Window Service, with a view to boosting this figure going forward.
Ethiopian prime minister Dr Abiy Ahmed called the tool a "key technology that will enhance cost effectiveness and efficiency in [the] trade logistics landscape of Ethiopia".
Mr Ahmed has recently been implementing a range of measures to improve his nation's economy, including the negotiation of a new lending programme with the International Monetary Fund that was completed in mid-December 2019. It is hoped this will encourage greater foreign investor participation there and further diversify the economy.
Another initiative was the recent liberalisation of logistics-related businesses to foreign companies and investors, again a way of attracting imports and exports.
However, the country was dealt a blow this month when the World Bank cut its forecast for Ethiopia's economic growth in 2020 to just 6.3 per cent, blaming foreign currency shortages, shrinking exports and high inflation.