Liberalising intra Africa trade in wild meat - A summary


01 Apr 2023

Key acronyms

AfCFTA - African Continental Free Trade Area

NTB - Non-Tariff Barrier

SADC - Southern African Development Community


The research that led to the policy recommendations in the report - Liberalising Intra Africa Trade in Wild Meat - Report of Research Findings and Recommendations - is the result of three distinct phases of research:

  • The first was a combination of desktop research and scoping interviews with persons practically involved in different stages of the wild meat industry. This stage identified broad barriers faced by the industry in the export or import of wild meat in the three countries, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.
  • The second phase was the evaluation of the data collected within the context of the appropriateness of the AfCFTA NTB mechanism in the resolution of the barriers identified. At this stage online consultations were conducted and the outcomes of the research and draft of recommendations were presented to stakeholders for further engagement and discussion.
  • The third phase of the research is the development of policy recommendations based on the outcomes of the first two phases and broader, related, needs identified in the wild meat industry. Although three countries were used in the scoping phase, the recommendations are generalised across AfCFTA Members and this report and recommendations do not address country specific matters.

Please click here to download a copy of the full report

This research considered the AfCFTA NTB reporting, monitoring and elimination mechanism as an appropriate forum of dispute resolution for the barriers identified as within the scope of this research. This research aimed to develop policy recommendations that have the potential to effect actual change in the industry. It was initially assumed that the recommendations made would be limited to technical improvements of the mechanism itself. However, through the course of the research and in particular during the consultations phase, it became apparent that there is a limited engagement with the NTB mechanism in the wild meat industry.

The policy recommendations below reflect the critical need for technical co-operation and open information available to stakeholders as well as specific capacity building in the wild meat industry. The recommendations related to the NTB mechanism are largely capacity related and on account of the limited engagement on the matter from stakeholders there are limited technical recommendations in terms of improvement of the mechanism itself. Given the importance of recurring themes and barriers in the research, recommendations are made regarding the broader barriers identified in the research that are not directly related to the purpose and scope of the AfCFTA NTB mechanism.

Recommendations were presented to stakeholders in December 2022.


Taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the AfCFTA to grow trade in wild meat will be greatly facilitated by identifying and addressing non-tariff barriers (NTBs) that restrict the intra-African wild meat trade. This report evaluates aspects of the AfCFTA NTB mechanism and in particular and considers its appropriateness as a forum of dispute resolution for the barriers identified within the scope of this research. The AfCFTA NTB mechanism is currently in its infancy and is similar in form to the NTB mechanism in place in the SADC region. This report considers the accessibility and effectiveness of the mechanism, its suitability as a forum for the resolution of a variety of NTBs and makes recommendations for how it can be improved.

The core objective of this report is to assess the ability of the AfCFTA’s NTB mechanism as a tool through which to address the identified challenges and NTBs in the wildlife meat industry. Where relevant, specific differences between South Africa, Namibia, and Zambia are highlighted. However, given the focus of the report on the AfCFTA mechanism, where possible focus remains and the broader NTBs that are relevant in an intra-AfCFTA trade context and are capable of generalisation.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is an agreement between African countries that creates a continental free trade area. A free trade area typically requires the reduction of tariffs and facilitates the removal of non-tariff barriers within the area concerned. It can also be expected to be a driver of economic growth and development. The AfCFTA is one of the flagship projects of the African Union’s Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want. It is ambitious; the AfCFTA is the world’s largest free trade area with 55 member states from the African continent in one market. By eliminating barriers to trade in Africa, the objectives of the AfCFTA include significantly boosting intra-Africa trade, particularly trade in value-added production and trade across all sectors of Africa’s economy. The African Union estimates that there are around 1.3 billion people within the AfCFTA area which amounts to a potential $3.4 trillion market. 

A number of international organisations, such as the World Bank and IMF have published research data that expresses the potential benefit of the AfCFTA to the continent. Outcomes such as economic integration, increased investment, a boost in trade, better jobs, a reduction in poverty, and increased shared prosperity in Africa are ones that the continent welcomes. Estimates indicate that intra African trade could be boosted by as much as 52.3 percent. Significant to this research is that this will possibly double if non-tariff barriers are also significantly reduced. What’s important to note in the reports relating to the potential of the AfCFTA is that the benefits would not only extend to intra-African trade, but the increased investment etc. is also expected to lead to increases in export to the rest of the world by about 32 percent by 2035 according to the World Bank.

This research report applied a paraphrased adaptation of the definition of wildlife trade used in a review of disease risk in wildlife trade. Wild meat trade in this research report is defined as follows:

Wild meat trade includes the legal (regulated) harvesting, transportation, trade and end use of wild meat across jurisdictions along a supply chain involving harvesters, intermediaries, and consumers. Wild meat, in this research report, is therefore the product of legally harvested and regulated trade in the wild meat industry.

The outcome of the research was that the barriers faced by the wild meat industry are not all barriers that the AfCFTA mechanism can reasonably be expected to resolve. Hence, the recommendations are split into two categories. The first includes technical recommendations related to the mechanism itself and the second includes broader recommendations.

Technical policy recommendations: The AfCFTA NTB mechanism

  • Build broad industry awareness and capacity related to international trade
  • Build specific capacity in the wild meat industry related to the AfCFTA
  • Build specific capacity in the wild meat industry related to the AfCFTA NTB Mechanism
  • Facilitate eased access to NTB data from the AfCFTA NTB Mechanism
  • Prioritise proactive prevention, removal, or mitigation of NTBs
  • Increase certainty and transparency: Establish a National Monitoring Committee and National Focal Point

Technical policy recommendations: Broader concerns beyond the AfCFTA mechanism

  • Harmonise and standardise what wildlife meat means
  • Define HS codes beyond the 6-digit HS code level in National tariff books
  • Address specific barriers during the harvesting phase of the value chain
  • Support the further development of existing recommendations and strategies to facilitate import and export of wild meat trade
  • Co-operate with other industries on the removal of barriers related to the country animal health status
  • Create an open AfCFTA database that contains templates of harmonised veterinary certificates
  • Develop technical trade literature to accompany requests for permits related to specialised wild meat products or categories of wild meat
  • Simplify and streamline permit procedures
  • Reform National legal frameworks
  • Address administrative capacity gaps of the competent authorities

In addition to the full research report, a summary explanation
of the policy recommendations is available here

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