SINGAPORE - AFRICA - CrimsonLogic - Applying the magic powder to trade [African Business]
(African Business Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) If governments and, for that matter, traders in Africa were granted one wish to make their lives easier, chances are they would ask for a magic system that would, at the touch of a key, cut through all the jungles of bureaucracy and form filling that blight everyday transactions on the continent.
"That is exactly the wish that the government of Singapore made back in the 1980s," says Saw Ken Wye, CEO of CrimsonLogic. "As you know, trade is Singapore's lifeblood. We were going through a painful recession and a lot of the revenues were being lost to cumbersome processes. The question was how to make trade more productive, more efficient?"
That, says Saw Ken Wye, was the start of a remarkable journey that led to the development of the world's first 'singlewindow' system and in time, to a full spectrum of eGovernment services.
Set up jointly by IE Singapore (then the Singapore Trade Development Board), the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, PSA Corporation and Singapore Telecommunications, CrimsonLogic began operations in 1988.
It developed TradeNet®, a single-window system that connected multiple parties involved in external trade. The system, as defined by the UN, is a "facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardised information and documents with a single entry point to fulfil import, export and transit-related regulatory requirements".
It enables traders to have 24-hour access to the electronic transmission of trade documents. "TradeNet® allowed us to connect Singapore Customs, Port Authorities and 33 other government controlling agencies to a single online platform for most trade documentation tasks, such as processing import and export permits, and certificates of origin. It facilitates the processing and approval of trade permits, reducing processing time to less than three minutes per application," recalls Saw Ken Wye. "Today, we process about nine million online transactions annually."
Contrast this with agonisingly slow processing and clearance at even some of the best African ports - the only exceptions are where CrimsonLogic has applied its magic wand. Of all the obstacles that stand in the way of a rapid expansion of African trade, the worst culprit has been the often unbelievably sluggish movement of goods from ship to shore and from storage to wherever the final destination may lie. This is not only the slowest in the world, it is the most expensive in the world to boot. The costs are, of course, passed on to the final consumer, who, in effect, is often paying several times more for the same product than anybody else anywhere in the world is paying. Little wonder that it has been so difficult to raise the poverty level of the continent despite Africa's impressive growth rates.
Encouraged by the success of TradeNet®, "and the experience gained in trade facilitation, CrimsonLogic ventured into other areas of eGovernment, such as eServices, eCitizens, eJustice and so on," says Saw Ken Wye.
The numbers that Saw Ken Wye quotes in terms of annual transactions are so far outside the league of most African ports as to be almost unbelievable. But they explain why Singapore's trade is three times the size of its GDP and why it is one of the world's busiest and most efficient ports. One can only imagine what the economic gains would be for Africa if it could achieve even half the same efficiency as Singapore.
"But, of course, Africa can," says Saw Ken Wye. All African countries have to do is to invite CrimsonLogic to take a look at their systems and sort them out, as many other countries around the world have done.
"We help governments design and run innovative and sustainable services to collaborate more seamlessly with their citizens and ecosystems," says Saw Ken Wye. "With over two decades of experience in eGovernment, we have a deep understanding of the way agencies work, interact and deliver services. TradeNet®, eJudiciary, eStamping and CertOfOrigin are some of our world-first innovations being used everyday by government agencies worldwide."
These include a handful of African countries such as Ghana, Madagascar, Mauritius, and Mozambique. The company is involved in two projects in Ghana: the Ghana Integrated Customs Clearance System, which is a web-based facility to control customs excise and preventative services; and the Ghana Gateway Project, which is a single window trade facilitation and customs management system.
In Mauritius CrimsonLogic set up the National Identity scheme in 2012 and the Mauritius eJudiciary project. The first project replaces paper-based national identity cards with polycarbonate smart cards for all citizens. The cards can be used for a variety of online services. The eJudiciary project has replaced mountains of case files and is an integrated court management system that has increased transparency and cut through the earlier labyrinthine manual processes.
"CrimsonLogic was entrusted to look into all the technical aspects of the eJudiciary system because of their experience and success in setting up the Electronic Filing System in Singapore. This eJudiciary system enables us to prove to investors that we are responsive to their needs by accelerating commercial claims," said Y K J Yeung Sik Yuen, the Chief Justice of Maurititius.
There are any number of African judicial systems that can happily do with this system and unclog the logjams that are currently standard.
Mozambique applied CrimsonLogic's TradeNet® in 2010 and now enjoys one of the most steamlined clearance systems in Southern Africa. Namibia has also taken advantage of the eJudiciary system to cut its court costs, prevent tampering with documents and improve transparency and efficiency. Rwanda has consulted the company on achieving an IT platform for its social security services and Kenya has launched a major single-window system (See box).
With most of Africa looking for ways and means to unclutter and speed up its trade processes, it would seem that CrimsonLogic is just what they would have wished for. ¦
Kenya launches national single-window
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta officially rolled out the Kenya Electronic Single Window System, known as Kenya TradeNet, in May this year. The system is CrimsonLogic's 18th live trade-facilitation implementation so far, and its first major project in Kenya.
Kenya TradeNet is the first comprehensive Single Window system in the East African Community, and one of the very few in the world that integrates a complex heterogeneous governmentagencies ecosystem onto a single common platform, streamlining clearance processes for sea, air and land cargo.
With the country's annual trade volumes exceeding $22.4bn, Kenya TradeNet is a flagship project under Kenya's Vision 2030 programme to position the country as a key trading hub in Africa. The system is expected to reduce cargo dwell time at ports, and improve the ease of doing business.
Although it was officially launched this year, Kenya TradeNet had been rolled out to the trading community in November 2013.
The Kenya TradeNet provides a single point of access for the Kenyan trading community to electronically submit and receive approvals from regulatory agencies, enabling easier, faster and more transparent processes, providing significant cost savings to the trading community.
Key regulatory agencies such as the 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, Horticultural Crops Development Authority, Pharmacy & Poisons Board and Port Health (and eventually over 20 partner government agencies) are integrated with Kenya TradeNet.
Kenya TradeNet is owned and managed by Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade), a state corporation mandated to implement, operationalise and manage the system.
"The journey towards modernising our Trade Facilitation system has benefited from the wealth of knowledge and expertise that CrimsonLogic has brought into this project," said Alex Kabuga, CEO of KenTrade. "CrimsonLogic is our valuable partner that delivered this challenging project on time, enabling us to positively manage the expectations of our stakeholders and trading community."
'All African countries have to do is to invite CrimsonLogic to take a look at their systems and sort them out, as many other countries around the world have done'
The inspiration behind the CrimsonLogic logo is the Nautilus shell, also known as nature's perfection. The proportion of one concentric layer to the next layer is a constant numeric value. This ratio, sometimes known as the Golden Ratio, can be found throughout nature. The proportional precision of the spiral exhibits an aura of intelligence and a strong sense of discipline in our approach to developing world-class solutions
(c) 2014 IC Publications Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).
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