In progress

Cutting the time and cost of imports

Digitalising key import processes for plant-based products


This project aims to support Senegal’s efforts to grow its agricultural sector by cutting the costs and time associated with importing seeds and plants that are essential inputs for production. Currently, traders must travel 20km from the Port of Dakar to a government office to obtain import permits, a cumbersome paper-based process that takes anywhere from one to seven days to reach approval. They spend more time later awaiting documentary inspections when the shipments arrive.

It complements another project already underway that aims at enhancing the competitiveness of plant product exports in Senegal.


In partnership with Senegal’s Department of Plant Protection (DPV) at the Ministry of Agriculture, Customs, technical experts Gaindé 2000, and local and international agri-food companies, our project is digitalising two key import processes for plant-based products and, initially, selected seeds: onions, orange sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and potatoes.

The first of these is pre-shipment authorisation, which will be digitalised and integrated into the Orbus single window, allowing businesses to submit their authorisation request online and receive an answer within 24 hours.

The second process removes the need for the physical transfer of the shipment’s official report between DPV and Customs, which will instead be channelled via the single window system. This not only saves time but reduces the risk that documents might be lost en route.


By digitalising key processes, Senegalese traders, farmers, distributors, and small businesses will benefit from a more transparent and predictable experience, cutting delays and removing the need for them to make multiple trips to confer with officials from different agencies along the way. The project is expected to:

  • reduce the time involved with importing seeds and other plant products by up to one day
  • save traders as much as 20% on the average overall cost associated with seed and plant product imports
  • improve border agency cooperation
  • improve Senegal’s competitive advantages in the agro-industrial sector
  • expand opportunities for small and medium enterprises by cutting the cost and time associated with importing seeds and other plant products, supporting development across the agricultural sector

Developed as part of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)’s Partnership Programme for Employment and the Promotion of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SI Jobs) initiative, the project also aims to contribute to the government’s Emerging Sustainable Plan, including the creation of sustainable jobs in the agricultural sector.


The project will be assessed using the Alliance’s Total Trade and Logistics Cost (TTLC) methodology. In addition to assessing impacts across 10 direct costs, such as duties, tariffs, and fees, the TTLC approach looks at changes in a dozen indirect costs relating to lost time, including impacts from idle trucks, late delivery penalties, and extra storage and inventory charges. The TTLC methodology can show how reforms that target indirect costs can have a multiplying effect by preventing further delays longer lead times further downstream in value chains.


The Alliance invites businesses to participate in a wide range of activities, including identifying international best practice, providing technical expertise to design the new systems, piloting the new systems, collecting and sharing data, and delivering training.

Project Structure

Phase 1

In progress

Analysis, design, and development of automated processes using international best practice

Phase 2

In progress

Implementation and evaluation

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