Somalia launches trade information portal to boost cross-border trade
To facilitate cross-border trade and provide more transparent trade information for businesses, Somalia's Ministry of Commerce and Industry, supported by the IFC, launched a trade information portal to lower costs and simplify trade procedures for Somali importers and exporters.
The portal, found at www.stip.gov.co, provides a single source for all cross-border trade information. Over 90 laws, regulations, procedures, and other trade-related measures from over a dozen government agencies can now be accessed online. Businesses can also access licenses, permits, and applicable fees.
The portal will provide Somalia's business community with easy access to information on import and export regulations and procedures. Also, it aims to improve the predictability and transparency of Somalia's business environment and provide foreign and domestic investors with quick and timely access to trade rules and regulations.
"With the launch of the Somalia Trade Information Portal, we hope that our business community will have a useful tool to find the information necessary to facilitate their import-export activities. We are committed to closely coordinating with the public and private sectors as well as international organizations to ensure the sustainability of the portal," said H.E. Abdulkadir Sharif Shekhuna, State Minister, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
"Trade is an important engine of growth for Somalia. Having fast and easy access to trade information and procedures is crucial for traders and investors," said Amena Arif, IFC Country Manager for Somalia. "The Somalia Trade Information Portal is an essential piece of a larger, on-going effort by Somalia to grow its private sector and create jobs and opportunities. IFC and the rest of the World Bank Group firmly support these efforts."
The portal is the latest government initiative to improve cross-border trade and to facilitate Somalia's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) by complying with the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. The development of the trade information portal is also a major step towards creating a conducive environment for doing business in Somalia.
As a single, easily searchable platform containing all trade regulations and procedures, the portal will save businesses time and operational costs, especially smaller enterprises interested or involved in the import, export, and transit businesses. It will also improve trade regulations, as stakeholders will be able to suggest ways government could modernize and simplify regulations and procedures.
"The Somalia Trade Information Portal aims to improve the country's business environment. With access to the right information at the right time, local businesses will be able to confidently venture into international markets and help Somalia's economy realize a prosperous future," said Mohamoud Abdi Ali Gabeyre, Chairman of the Somalia Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Since 2015, IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has been engaged in Somalia to support economic growth, including improving trade competitiveness. As part of this work, the portal was supported by the Somalia Investment Climate Reform Project II, which is managed by IFC and funded by the government of Denmark, the European Union, and the United Kingdom's Foreign Commonwealth Development Office.