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Single Window system puts Kenya in Africa’s digital league

FINANCIAL STANDARD
By Business Beat Reporter | May 13th 2014

By Business Beat Reporter

Kenya’s National Single Window System, now known as Kenya TradeNet, was officially launched in Nairobi by Rwanda President Paul Kagame at a ceremony witnessed by leaders from six African nations in Nairobi.

The system is an electronic platform that enables Kenya to clear import cargo — which is mostly destined for the neighbouring land-locked economies of Rwanda, Uganda, South Sudan, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo — cheaper, faster and more efficiently.

The launch was witnessed by President Uhuru Kenyatta, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni, Tanzania Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda and Burundi Second Vice President Gervais Rufyikiri.

Common platform

Kenya TradeNet is the first comprehensive Single Window in the East African Community, and one of very few in the world that integrates a heterogeneous government agencies’ ecosystem onto a single common platform, streamlining clearance processes for sea, air and land cargo.

 It has been developed by CrimsonLogic, a leading provider of eGovernment solutions and services headquartered in Singapore, under a government contract between Kenya and Singapore. The system is CrimsonLogic’s 18th live trade facilitation implementation so far, and its first major project in Kenya.

With the country’s annual trade volumes exceeding $22.4 billion (Sh1.9 trillion), Kenya TradeNet is a flagship project under Kenya’s Vision 2030 programme to position the country as a key trade hub in Africa.

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The system is expected to reduce cargo dwell time at ports, and improve the ease of doing business. It provides a single point of access for the Kenyan trading community to electronically submit and receive approvals from regulatory agencies, enabling a faster and more transparent process, and providing significant cost savings.

Kenya TradeNet will integrate more than 20 partner Government agencies, including Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Maritime Authority, Kenya Airports Authority, Kenya Bureau of Standards, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services, Department of Veterinary Services and Port Health. 

The system is owned and managed by Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade), a State corporation mandated to implement, operationalise and manage the trade facilitation system. 

“The system provides working modules for relevant institutions that do not have adequate management information systems to interface with the Kenya TradeNet, and will be integrated with existing payment systems to provide an end-to-end electronic solution to trade logistics in Kenya.

“The deployment of the Kenya TradeNet System is complemented by a host of capacity building and communications activities to address uptake and sustainability concerns. These include the on-going sensitisation targeting ports and land border posts users, as well as user training for all our stakeholders,” said KenTrade Board Chairman Joseph Kibwana.

The implementation of the Single Window system has been funded by the Government with support from the Investment Climate Facility (ICF), International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA).

Necessary reforms

The system is seen as critical to resolving inefficient and corruption-prone cargo logistics.

“We are extremely honoured to be a key partner in Kenya’s eGovernment journey to transform the country’s economy and trade, and as a Singapore company, proud to have shared our expertise and experience to support this project.

“As a global leader in Single Window implementations, it is always about working with governments that have the foresight and tenacity to drive the necessary reforms and investments to effect positive changes,” CrimsonLogic CEO Saw Ken Wye said.

KenTrade CEO Alex Kabuga added that the system would transition the economy from the “tedious, inefficient and wasteful paper-based trade logistics process into the ‘digital league’ of Single Window-compliant economies like Senegal, Ghana, Mozambique and Mauritius”.

“I must say that this feat is attributable to the key success factor for projects of this magnitude: goodwill and support from the Government. We are alive to the fact that under the Jubilee Manifesto, the Government committed to make deliberate steps to eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers, and also foster regional integration.”

The system is available to stakeholders in trade logistics through kenyatradenet.go.ke.

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