Kenya at advanced stage on trading system upgrade - official

KenTrade commenced upgrading the Single Window System in December 2019

In Summary

•Launched in May 2014, the system which had a lifespan of seven years serves over 12,000 users with over 600,000 transactions processed annually.

•The number of transactions and users is expected to grow with the resumption of trade after a short disruption by Covid-19.

Kentrade CEO Amos Wangora/
Kentrade CEO Amos Wangora/

The upgrading of Kenya's single window system to simplify trade processes is at an advanced stage, the official driving it said yesterday.

The platform under the ambit of the Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade) will form a key platform for Kenya's international trade.

KenTrade commenced upgrading the Single Window System (Kenya TradeNet System) in December 2019, to enhance system productivity, avoid technological obsolescence and improve user experience.

Launched in May 2014, during a regional heads-of-state summit hosted by President Uhuru Kenyatta, the system currently serves over 12,000 users and with over 684,000 transactions processed annually.


Monthly transactions are at an average 57,000 with about 14,000 entries a week .

The Sh1 billion system had a lifespan of seven years, with an expiry of this year, informing the need to upgrade.

The number of transactions and users is expected to grow with the resumption of trade after a short disruption by Covid-19.

‘‘To accommodate the growth and to ensure that our stakeholders continue receiving efficient services, it is necessary that the Kenya TradeNet System be upgraded for enhanced user experience,’’ KenTrade KenTrade CEO Amos Wangora said yesterday.

He added that the Kenya TradeNet upgrade will be a seamless process with minimum disruptions.

KenTrade is a state Agency under the National Treasury that is mandated to facilitate cross border trade and establish, manage and implement the Kenya TradeNet System.

Single Window System is basically a trade facilitation tool that enables parties involved in international trade to submit regulatory import and export related documentation to lodge their documents through a single platform hence the name Single Window System.

The system is module based and brings together  42 stakeholders with over 10,000 registered users which includes more than 35 permits,licenses,certificates government issuing agencies known as Partner Government Agencies (PGAs), whose cargo clearance documentation has been automated through system integrations or interfaces with Kenya TradeNet System.

The system is also linked to financial institutions (banks, mobile payment solutions) through Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) iTax System and the governments eCitizen platforms, therefore providing an end to end electronic cargo documentation platform.

In the upgrade process, the agency has undertaken a number of activities such as stakeholder sensitizations which is an ongoing process meant to prepare as well as inform the stakeholders of the upgrade progress.

It has also undertaken a gap analysis that involved reviewing the business process, business rules validation, and coming up with a customization requirements specification based on the gaps identified.

Stakeholder involvement and gap analysis have been successful and will enable the upgrade of the Kenya TradeNet upgrade process to move to the level known as User Acceptance Testing (UAT), Wangora said in a statement.

UAT is a crucial process that will give stakeholders or users the opportunity to interact with the system, observe its actual behavior, compare to their expectations test and validate that the upgraded Kenya TradeNet meets their business needs and requirements.

“This process is considered as one of the most critical phases in the upgrade process and it requires proper planning, execution and evaluation of the UAT results,” the agency said in a statement.

Based on the results from the UAT, the KenTrade will establish the level of confidence that the stakeholders have in the system and the ability to deliver the intended business value.

This phase will commence next month.

Surveys and reports show the single window system has helped reduce the average number of processes involved in processing client’s applications by almost 50 per cent.

It has ensured a 24 hours-seven days a week paperless (electronic) application by traders, which has also reduced time taken to process clients’ requests by over 50 per cent.

It has significantly cut the time in preparation of manifest from two to three days to an average 15 minutes for larger agents running their own automated systems.

Other government agencies, such as KRA, has benefitted from increased transparency, hence rise in revenue collection.

Successful implementation of Kenya TradeNet System and associate benefits was cited as one of the key contributors to the improvement of Kenya World Bank ranking in the ease of doing business , especially in the area of trading across borders.