The move by the regional states to interconnect its infrastructure has elevated the East African countries’ (EAC) status in the World Bank logistics ranking.
The improvement is an important indicator in attracting foreign investment into the region.
The ranking is a tool created to help countries identify the challenges and opportunities they face in their performance on trade logistics and what they can do to improve their performance
According to the 2016 World Bank Logistics Performance Index, a survey conducted by the institution on the efficiency of trade logistics in 160 countries, has seen EAC countries, among them Uganda, climb up the efficiency ladder.
The survey indicates that in Africa, the regional countries competed strongly, with Kenya being ranked second, Uganda coming fifth, and Tanzania and Rwanda settling in the tenth and eleventh position while Burundi occupies the 13th place.
In the overall ranking, EAC countries, except Uganda made impressive strides, with Tanzania climbing 77 places higher, registering the biggest leap among EAC countries.
Although it competed strongly with its continental peers, Uganda’s ranking was globally impacted because it was not ranked in the previous survey. Out of 160 countries, Kenya is in position 42, Uganda 58, Tanzania 61, Rwanda 62 and Burundi occupies position 107 globally.
The performance of the single customs territory which allows quicker clearance of goods; and other Northern Corridor Integration Projects initiatives were the key contributors to this performance, according to the new release. The release is made after every two years.
Customs agencies have again obtained much higher ratings than other agencies such as sanitary and phyto-sanitary agencies (these are ministries of Agriculture) and those enforcing quality or technical standards of goods, the survey noted.
“The performance is largely attributed to the reforms we have undertaken, that is, Single Customs Territory Clearance procedures, the one stop border posts, the implementation of electronic cargo tracking system and other internal reforms such as performance measurement all aimed at quickening the clearance process,” Mr Dicksons Kateshumbwa, commissioner customs, said when contacted recently.
Need for political will
According to the survey, rapid improvements can also be achieved regionally if countries have a strong political will and align their efforts in implementing administrative reform.
This is the case, for example, of the Northern Corridor that links Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda with the port of Mombasa in Kenya.
“Within the low income group, East African countries are leading the performance in this year’s edition,” reads the survey.