Single Window Information
For Trade [SWIFT] Portals

Increasing efficiency,
powering trade.


Reduction in time and costs related to trade in EAC by supporting governments Challenge to adopt ICT solutions in key trading systems and processes.


Technical and financial support to trade regulatory agencies in the region to develop Information Communication and Technology (ICT) based systems that automate trade processes, transforming them from paper based to paper-less transactions. The result of this is a reduction in time and cost in acquiring regulatory documents.

Since 2012, SWIFT programme has supported 19 agencies in automation. Out of which 6 were evaluated in 2016 to assess the automated portal. The evaluated portals are Kenya National Chamber 0f Commerce, Kenya Tea Directorate, Ministry of Agriculture Rwanda, Rwanda Development Board, Tanzania Food and Drug Authority and Uganda National Bureau of Standards

These projects have demonstrated how ICT can transform trade systems and procedures, making them simpler, more transparent, efficient and predictable

Key Benefits of Automation


Reduces the time taken to acquire trade documents by eliminating periods of process inaction.


Reduces the time taken to acquire trade documents by eliminating periods of process inaction.


Rise in stakeholder confidence and trust due to transparency and predictability of the system.


Achieves greater harmonization of trade data across government systems

Overall Swift Impact


Total cost of doing business/savings was $6.6 million at December 2016

3.2 Days $62 Per Transaction

Average clearance time per transaction reduced by 3.2 days and cost by $62 per transaction along key corridors in the EAC.


Document processing transactions of key trade processes improved and became transparent, predictable and accountable.


of respondents indicated there were improvements in services delivery.

135 hours to 2 hours

Reduced operational cost (travel, stationery, storage)


Improved document management due to e-storage.

Improved effectiveness and efficiency of the trade agencies across all portals.

Key Results

38,908 Transactions

have been made over the 6
portals between 2012-2016.



average transaction cost reduced



average cost per transaction reduced

79 Hours

2 Hours

Average time to process import/export documents reduced

772 Trained Stakeholders

were able to transact on the
e-portals have been done
through the e-portal

A total of

have been done throught the e-portal.

Evaluated Portals

Specific Challenge:

To apply and acquire the Certificate of Origin in Kenya, traders had to travel to the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) offices in either Nairobi or Mombasa.This meant incurring travel costs and time for a single certificate of origin.


TMA supported KNCCI to automate the issuance of Certificates of Origin (CoO) which allowed exporters to apply for the CoO, online and get automated verification. Traders can now apply for the CoO online from anywhere in the world. As a result, costs have reduced from US$ 88 to US$ 10 and processing time reduced from 48 hours in 2004 to 2 hours in 2016.

Specific Challenge:

Despite tea being Kenya’s major export commodity.It’s trading process was cumbersome,costly and time consuming for traders. Tea parkers, exporters, buyers, manufacturers and warehousemen would apply or renew operational licences by travelling to the tea directorate offices. Making monthly and annual statistical returns, and registering tea exports and imports would also require travel.


Automation of Kenya Tea Directorate's key processes enabling it to deliver its mandate of regulating the tea sector. Automation included processes of licensing, registration and issuance of annual renewals for manufacturers, exporters, packers and brokers. It now takes 4 hours (from 120 hours) and costs $10 (from $65) to process an export registration.

Specific Challenge:

Agriculture is crucial for Rwanda’s growth. It accounts for 39 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), 80 percent of employment, 63 percent of foreign exchange earnings, and 90 percent of the country’s food needs. Control of pests and diseases; and their spread remained a challenge for the country as it aimed to improve the quality of its agricultural produce for export markets.


TMA supported the Rwanda Agriculture Livestock Inspection (RALIS) agency to automate its key processes targeting exporters and importers of plants and plant materials, animal and animal products that enabled better control of spread of pests and diseases and minimizing introduction of new ones. Efficient control of pests and diseases increases the quality of agricultural and livestock products. Five processes were automated: Inspection, Pest Risk Analysis, Quarantine, Testing, Certification. As a result, processing of phytosanitary certificate and import permit reduced from 24 hours to 2 hours; average cost reduced from US$60 to US$10.

Specific Challenge:

As a land locked country, Rwanda relies on the direct foreign and domestic investments made in the country as an avenue to spur and promote national and economic development. Simplifying business registration, promoting investments, and environmental clearances then remains critical for the Rwanda Development Board, the agency that brings together all Rwanda government agencies responsible for investments in the country.


Development of an online One-Stop Centre that enables investors to access online services for key investment processes and documents including: Registration of an Investment Certificate; Application for Environmental Compliance, Issuance of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Certificate; and processing of exemptions on imported goods.
As a result, starting a business in Rwanda has become easier and faster as the average processing time has reduced from 96 hours to 2 hours; average cost reduced from US$60 to US$10.


Development of a one-stop location for all information required importers and exporters of drugs, foods, medical devices and cosmetics in Tanzania and the East African region. The e-portal provides reports on the application and management of licenses, certificates and permits and all processes related to the import and export of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices and premises registration. As a result, the average document processing time for issuing import and export permits has reduced from 135 hours to 2 hours and cost reduced from US$ 80 to US$ 30.


An online database on existing rules, procedures, legislation and regulations governing the import/export business in Uganda and a system to facilitate the application and management of import / export licenses and permits. The database is also used as a tool for sensitizing traders on import and export requirements including licensing requirements hence making them better informed of the import/export procedures. As a result, the average time for import clearance reduced from 48 hours to 2 hours; average cost reduced from US$80 to US$10;

Lessons Learned

Literacy: Computer literacy training of targeted beneficiaries should be a component of programmes automating government systems, as literacy levels vary.

ICT and Gender: Mainstreaming gender should be a key and deliberate component of ICT interventions ftom inception. This will establish actual baseline facts on assumption made about ICT impact poverty and women.

Automation: The number of transactions through an e-portal, the higher the benefits. Thus automation on projects shoutl target multiple processes and invest in increasing awareness among users.