The South African Development Community in conjunction with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and East African Community (EAC) on October 26th, 2017, officially launched the Tripartite Transport & Transit Facilitation Programme (TTTFP).
The projected is funded by the European Union to the tune of Euro 18 million. The EU funds are intended for infrastructure developments which include road infrastructure.
The TTTFP region makes up half of the African Union (AU) in terms of membership, 58 per cent in contribution to GDP and 57 per cent of total population, estimated at 600 million and total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of about one trillion US dollars.
The TTTFP aims at Increasing trade and promote economic growth in Eastern and Southern Africa by improving policies and in the regional regulatory and economic environment that will reduce the high costs of trading in the region and help the national administrations, working through the Recruitment and Employment Confederations, to address barriers to trade and growth; Reduce transit times and transaction costs along the principal corridors in eastern and Southern Africa through better infrastructure, faster border crossings and harmonised trade and transit regulations; and Improve aid effectiveness by coordinating donor funding for priority Aid-for-Trade programmes.
Prior to the launch of the TTRF there existed a multiplicity of International cooperating partners in the transport and trade sector. The regional bodies saw a need to coordinate the programmes of regional organisations and other development partners to enable them to complement each other rather than work against their counterparts.
The oversight committees for the TTFP note that harmonisation cannot be introduced in absence of the supporting statutory framework in the form of enabling legislation. The TTTFP will develop Model Laws for national integration and for guidance; and frameworks for common systems and exchange of information amongst member states.
Technical assistance will be provided to countries to domesticate the model laws and implement amendments to current laws to enable the enforcement across the TTTRF region.
Member countries will be required to introduce legislation, under the TTTFP that regulates Vehicle Load Management; Vehicle and Driver Quality; Cross Border Road Transport (including Liberalisation & Operator Responsibilities); Dangerous Goods; Model Law on Decriminalization of Road Traffic & Transport Offences and Demerit Points System.
The TTTRF is initiated through a ministerial and technical level committee comprising of member states. At present, there are 5 or 6 corridor management committees out of the 18 that are required, reflecting the magnitude of work yet to be undertaken for the goal of an economically and physically integrated continent is to be achieved by 2028 in accordance with AU objectives.
Technical assistance will be provided by the TTTFP, for the domestication of a range of laws and standards, such as Vehicle Dimensions and Equipment, Vehicle Load Control, Dangerous Goods, Vehicle Fitness Testing, Driver Training and Testing, and Operator responsibility for quality of operations.
The implementation of the measures will enable the Tripartite countries to create a competitive, integrated and liberalised regional road transport market with fair competition. Furthermore, the regulation by quantity is changed to the regulation of quality of road transport in the region, with the concomitant increase in road transport efficiency and reduction in transport costs and transit times along the transport corridors.
It is envisaged that the new measures will speed up trade routes, custom clearance and open the air corridors to greater competition.