TradeMark Africa Partners with Global Organisations to Reimagine International Trade

ABU DHABI, February 27, 2024: In 2015, TradeMark Africa (TMA) presented the Trade Logistics Information Pipeline (TLIP) idea during the World Trade Organisation MC10 forum in Nairobi and in 2019, TMA and IOTA foundation partnered to build a secure and trustworthy international trade system that removed bottlenecks associated with paperwork, access to information and slow approvals, to reduce the time and costs taken to trade. With TMA funding of $4 million, IOTA developed TLIP, a system built on the distributed ledger technology providing a transparent and secure electronic exchange of trade information in international supply chains.

TMA and IOTA have showcased the TLIP’s proof of concept across various scenarios, highlighting its scalability and efficiency in documenting diverse trade flows. From the conducted pilots, this initiative has demonstrated outcomes such as an 80% decrease in trade costs and a reduction in cross-border processing times from 25 days to just one day. Traders benefit from greater predictability of access to customs facilities while crossing borders, which in-turn reduces their administration costs and effort. The average cross-border transaction requires the exchange of 36 documents and 240 copies involving up to 30 actors. TLIP received acclaim from government agencies and supply chain organisations for its ability to promote transparency, enhance data sharing and snowball cost savings. The infrastructure has already been used in Kenya and been tested in the UK.

Building on this success, today at the WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi, TMA is partnering with IOTA, the World Economic Forum, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, the Institute of Export and International Trade, and the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation to sign an agreement to establish a neutral governance framework for TLIP. With the new framework, the institutions will work with like-minded public and private sector actors around the world to prioritise the common good with TLIP serving as a catalyst for creating a vibrant ecosystem, where innovation thrives, and barriers are dismantled.

TradeMark Africa Partners with Global Organisations to Reimagine International TradeDavid Beer, CEO of TradeMark Africa, expressed enthusiasm for the partnership, stating, “Our collaboration with leading organisations underscores our commitment to sustainable and inclusive trade. We are proud of the development of platforms such as the Trade Logistics Information Pipeline (TLIP), through which we aim to dismantle barriers and foster innovation in global trade, empowering all stakeholders to actively participate in shaping the future of trade facilitation.”

Mr. Beer emphasised the value of open dialogue and collaboration within the coalition, stating, “We are achieving remarkable feats with emerging technologies, but taking this to the next level is about joining forces with these innovators and great collaborators.”

Over the next six months, the partners will continue implementing Proof of Concepts in Africa and Europe using the TLIP framework, with the goal of onboarding more actors and building the necessary ecosystems for the future.

“The Collaborative Agreement is this coalition’s promise to be a responsive institute focused on the needs of every stakeholder in the supply chain. We are ready to transform international e-commerce, but we need all public and private entities in the global trade space to help us craft the policies and frameworks of the future,” said Dominik Schiener, Chairman of the Board of Directors & Co-Founder of the IOTA Foundation

Exchanging information along the trade supply chain remains a real challenge. Trust and structured collaboration will be key to scaling systems and approaches that work across many countries,” said Tim Stekkinger, Head, TradeTech Global Initiative at the World Economic Forum.

We are proud to champion the creation of a neutral, inclusive digital infrastructure for trade. This partnership between key international trade organisations pools together a perfect mix of specialism, knowledge and the right balance of tech and trade experts to streamline supply chains and customs procedures. With the Trade Logistics Information Pipeline (TLIP) framework, we expect promising outcomes, including up to 80% cost reduction, processing times cut to one day, and a 35% increase in SME efficiency. Through collaboration, we are committed to shaping a future where trade facilitation benefits societies worldwide, through the creation of a more equitable and sustainable global trade ecosystem and infrastructure,” said Marco Forgione, Director General of The Institute of Export, and International Trade

Re-imaging trade in the information age is imperative in making global trade work for all.  Innovating a public global digital infrastructure for trade that is inclusive and green, that this partnership aims to achieve, resonates with TBI’s core goal of reimagining how governments and states deliver services in the 21st Century” said Frank Matsaert, Global Lead – Trade & Infrastructure, Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.

“As a community, we keep promoting the pivotal role of technology in overcoming frictions to trade. Yet the reality remains that international trade continues to rely heavily on paper-based transactions. The introduction of TLIP marks a paradigm shift, utilising distributed ledger technology within a collaborative, non-commercial framework aimed solely at easing the process of conducting trade in a secure and efficient environment. I am delighted that the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation is a leading player in this transformative venture,” said Philippe Isler, Director, Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation.

With TLIP, East African exports can enhance competitiveness by optimising information generation, transmission, and storage. TLIP provides an integrated solution for sharing information directly from the source, utilising Blockchain technology to ensure data integrity, security, and traceability. With TLIP, goods in transit will be more visible, and reliable information will be available for all stakeholders, significantly reducing time and costs involved in transporting goods to and from East Africa, thus enhancing the region’s competitiveness in global markets.


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About The IOTA Foundation

The IOTA Foundation is a global non-profit foundation that develops next-generation decentralized technologies for a new digital economy in a connected world. It redesigns the way people and devices connect to share information and value, removing middlemen. The Foundation collaborates with a global ecosystem and partners to research and develop technologies that deliver sustainable, real-world impact. Together, they are shaping a new digital economy, removing unnecessary friction, and unlocking human potential.

About The World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business, cultural, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas. It was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It is independent, impartial, and not tied to any special interests. The Forum strives in all its efforts to demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest while upholding the highest standards of governance. Moral and intellectual integrity is at the heart of everything it does. Its activities are shaped by a unique institutional culture founded on the stakeholder theory, which asserts that an organization is accountable to all parts of society. The institution carefully blends and balances the best of many kinds of organizations, from both the public and private sectors, international organizations, and academic institutions.

About The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change

Headquartered in the UK, The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change is a not-for-profit that equips governments to respond to today’s challenges and seize tomorrow’s opportunities. It works with political leaders and governments worldwide on strategy, policy, and delivery – with technology as an enabler of all three. With 750 staff and growing, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change operates in more than 30 countries and has over 50 partners.

 About The Institute of Export and International Trade

The Institute of Export & International Trade was established in 1935 to support UK businesses in growing their international markets and trade. The Institute is the leading association of exporters and importers. It provides education and training to professionalize the UK’s international traders. As a partner with governments, it delivers programs in the UK and internationally and are evangelists for global standards. The Institute co-partners in running the online Customs Academy, the world’s first training platform dedicated to customs skills and developed at the request of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

 About The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation

The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation is a public-private partnership dedicated to international trade facilitation. It supports governments in developing and least-developed countries in implementing the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement. Alliance projects cut through red tape and end costly delays at borders by bringing together governments and businesses of all sizes as equal partners to deliver targeted trade reforms.

By emphasizing digitalization and delivering other best practices, Alliance projects enable businesses to trade more easily thanks to streamlined and more predictable processes. Governments save time and resources by modernizing trade procedures while safeguarding their borders. Ultimately, Alliance projects boost trade competitiveness and business conditions, which are key drivers of inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction. The Alliance is led by the Center for International Private Enterprise, the International Chamber of Commerce, and the World Economic Forum, in cooperation with Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). It is funded by the governments of the United States, Canada, and Germany.