In 2012 during the 18th ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of state and government of the African Union, AfCFTA was created. It seeks to redress the problems faced by the African continent. By Boosting Intra-Africa Trade (BIAT) which identifies seven clusters. That include trade policy, trade facilitation, productive capacity, trade-related infrastructure, trade finance, trade information, and factor market integration. The CFTA will bring together fifty-four African countries. With a combined population of more than one billion people. And a combined gross domestic product t of more than US $3.4 trillion. In this article, you will read insight on how the African traders will be impacted by AfCFTA in a pandemic. And how it will improve technology to ease cargo inspection just with the use of a mobile phone.

AfCFTA’s Impact on the African Fruit Market.

The impact of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), would significantly boost the exportation and importation sector of Africa. Millions of dollars worth of cargo from the  African continent get dumped on a daily basis. Due to supply chain bottlenecks that result in delays in the unloading and offloading of cargo. Limited energy supply, bad internet connection and poor road infrastructure are some of the factors that hinder the smooth functioning of this sector of the industry.

An article published by the World bank on the Economic and Distributional Effects of AfCFTA shows that by 2035, the volume of total exports would increase by almost 29 per cent. Intracontinental exports would increase by more than 81 per cent. While exports to non-African countries would rise by 19 per cent. This would create new opportunities for African fruit exporters who are hesitant to venture into the grey areas of global export for fear that they would be drowned by their counterparts from the technological savvy countries.

The report estimates that compared with a business-as-usual scenario, implementing AfCFTA would lead to an almost 10 per cent increase in wages. With larger gains for unskilled workers and women who are mostly related to the food production sector.

The free movement of goods and services, increase in employment, albeit a positive impact would create a lot of loopholes. Also, that might complicate and slow down the exportation process.  The increase in the number of employees would increase the processes the exporter needs in order to get his cargo from cut to cool. In addition, most of these processes are manual and a lot of data is lost in the field. Companies cannot keep track of the number of containers they ship out on a monthly or annual basis. 

The quality of fruit can only be verified by third party surveyors who are costly and time-consuming. Their businesses are based solely on blind trust. And in most cases, it is tricky because there are grey areas that you can exploit to lodge or deny a claim.

The economic crisis generated by the Covid‑19 pandemic hit Africa hardest. The International Monetary Fund in 2020 projected a fall in the global gross domestic product of 3%. And the  World  Trade Organization (WTO) has a drop in trade of between 13% and 32%. 

Mobile Remote Inspections: The Future of Fruit Inspection

In  Africa,  trade volumes were projected to decrease by 8% for exports. About 16% for imports for 2020, compared with previous historic trend estimates (WTO, 2020a). In order to recover from the effects of COVID 19, African economies must hasten the implementation of the  AfCFTA  Agreement. Rapid implementation of the  AfCFTA will help the recovery from Covid‑19 impacts. And reduce Africa’s exposure to future pandemics in the health,  food supply and climate change sector.

Mobile data collection technologies are expanding to meet the growing demand from the inspection industry. More and more companies specializing in-field inspections are migrating to digital technology to increase their productivity and reduce their costs.

As the African Market gradually picks up the shattered pieces of the economy post covid19, African fruit importers and exporters have to join the technological bandwagon. And have moved from manual and time-consuming processes to fast and reliable methods of inspection.

Remotely collecting, analyzing and sharing objective evidence of the handling and quality of the cargo in transit. Optimiz offers a solution that saves time and money. Also, it’s efficient and cost-effective. A single inspection with a physical surveyor would cost about USD800 to 1000. Optimiz digitizes the inspection process and from the ease of a dashboard. A survey report automates and the third parties can use it including airlines and shipping lines.