Would Customs Trade Facilitation Programs stimulate COMESA intra-export flows?
Measures to actively facilitate trade are increasingly seen as essential to assist COMESA region in expanding its intra-exports. COMESA intra-export trade is deplorably low. This study estimated the impact of Authorized Economic Operators (AEOs), the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) and the Single Window systems (SWs) on COMESA intra-export flows. The study used a gravity model on cross-sectional data for 16 COMESA Member States and a Poisson Pseudo Maximum Likelihood (PPML) estimator and found that operational AEOs and ASYCUDA systems increase bilateral COMESA export flows by 1.74% and 1.06% respectively. Back-to-back functional single windows increase bilateral exports by 5.7%, of which 4.7% corresponds to exporting countries and 0.93% to importing countries’ program operationalization. Policies aimed at expediting the operationalization of AEOs, the ASYCUDA systems and single windows by COMESA Member States is hereby recommended for the region to stimulate bilateral intra-export flows.