COMESA Building, Right Wing, 2nd floor, Ben Bella Road, Lusaka, Zambia.
+260 211 229725/32 or + 260 761 228 754

Enhancing Economic Governance: COMESA Business Council’s Pioneering Move Towards a Regional Track and Trace System

In a pivotal step towards bolstering economic governance and combatting illicit trade, the COMESA Business Council (CBC) has embarked on a groundbreaking study, facilitated by the technical assistance provided by the European Union’s Africa RISE (Reform for Investment and Sustainable Economies) programme. This initiative aims to inform the development of a Regional Track and Trace System for COMESA Member States, marking a significant milestone in the region’s commitment to fostering sustainable economic growth.

The genesis of this endeavor traces back to a previous CBC study focused on drafting policy proposals for the Anti-illicit Trade Framework in the COMESA region. Supported by the EU Africa RISE programme, this earlier study shed light on a critical issue – the absence of a comprehensive track and trace system in the COMESA region. The lack of such a system was identified as a contributing factor to the prevalence of illicit trade, prompting the CBC to delve deeper into finding robust solutions.

The current study is strategically designed to determine the specifications for an effective and functional regional track and trace system within the COMESA region. This system will play a pivotal role in monitoring the supply chain of specific products, ultimately curbing illicit trade and fortifying the revenue protection measures of Member States. Beyond its financial implications, the initiative aligns with international obligations under the Protocol and stands to improve the broader business and policy environment across the COMESA region.

The comprehensive assignment is structured in two phases, with the first phase dedicated to determining requirements and preparing tender documents. This crucial step involves conducting an assessment of COMESA Member States to identify the specific requirements for a regional track and trace system, focusing initially on selected products. The second phase will witness the installation of the regional track and trace system on a pilot basis, using tobacco products as a test case.

While Phase I is currently underway, with a commitment from Africa Rise to support CBC, the initiative represents a broader commitment to combatting illicit trade and fostering sustainable economic practices across COMESA Member States. As the CBC navigates these uncharted waters, the impact of this pioneering move is poised to be transformative, setting new standards for economic governance and trade facilitation within the region. Stay tuned for updates on this groundbreaking initiative that seeks to reshape the economic landscape of the COMESA region.