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In Implementation

Strengthening Trade Facilitation in Ghana under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)


Ghana ratified the Agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in 2018. The overall mandate of the agreement is to create a single continental market. Once fully implemented, the AfCFTA will be the world’s largest free-trade area with a population of 1.3 billion people and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $3.4 trillion. Recently, Ghana has launched a National AfCFTA Policy Framework and Action Plan to boost the inter-African trade.

Over the last two years, Ghana has already embarked in the modernisation of its customs system. In 2019 the Ministry of Trade and Industry introduced a new single window known as the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS). As of June 2020, import declarations were being submitted electronically. Although this was the case, capacity building on the system was limited.

Discussions with the private and public sector revealed the need for more activities in customs cooperation, customs modernisation and general capacity building on the AfCFTA. Specifically, there is untapped potential in terms of cooperation between border agencies: within the country, with other West African countries and within the larger African subregion. Also, within the customs administration lays the issue of adapting to emerging areas related to green trade facilitation and the looming leadership capacity gap with most of its senior officials due for retirement.


The overall objective of the project is to facilitate Ghana’s trade with other AfCFTA countries. Modernised customs and improved customs cooperation are crucial factors to fully unlock Ghana’s economic potential related to the AfCFTA. Additionally, it is relevant to raise the awareness on the AfCFTA in the trading community. They need sufficient information on how to benefit from the facilitated trade processes.

The project supports the Ghanaian Customs administration and the private sector under three components:

  1. Customs Modernisation: Improvement in ICUMS through capacity building and customs leadership trainings including developing and updating training modules. Moreover, there will be additional activities on green trade facilitation and the digitalisation of the instruction for the dispatch of goods (IDG).
  2. Customs Cooperation: Support with capacity building in the areas of IT infrastructure and legal frameworks such as accession to the Nairobi Convention.
  3. Capacity Building on the AfCFTA: Support to sensitise the private sector and to build its capacity.

Moreover, the project follows a gender-sensitive approach. Main public partners of the project are the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ghana Revenue Authority (Customs Division) and other governmental agencies. Additionally, the project works with the private sector including business associations, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Chambers of Commerce, women-led associations, freight forwarders. The project runs in tandem with inputs from its partners. It seeks to address the needs of the private sector actors in line with the overall project objectives through its regular Technical Working Group Meetings.


  • Increased capacity of customs administration to respond to emerging topics and challenges.
  • Transparent and strengthened cooperation amongst border agencies through enhanced capacities in the area of customs cooperation.
  • Increased awareness of the trading community on import and export procedures and on the AfCFTA.

Photo credits header: StreetOnCamara – | Tom Fisk/ | offsuperphoto –

How to get involved

Do you work for a company with international supply chains? Please contact us if you would like to learn more about the project and the German Alliance.