The Zimbabwe Electronic Single Window (ZESW) concept was introduced in 2022 as part of measures to enhance efficient clearance of legitimate traffic and trade facilitation at the country’s ports of entry.


The objective of the ZESW is to improve trade facilitation and to achieve efficiency and effectiveness in pursuing the goals of revenue collection, enforcement of trade laws, social protection, and providing business intelligence to the government.


Zimbabwe provides the gateway to Africa through the north and south corridor, hence efficient trade facilitation at the country’s ports of entry is key for the region’s rapid economic growth.


The ZESW initiative is also in sync with global trends on customs reforms and best practices, as well as a National Development Strategy 1 priority on trade facilitation.


Currently, the country’s ports of entry are manned by various government departments and agencies that have a critical legislative role in the trade facilitation matrix.


Under the Single Window initiative, ZIMRA as the lead agency has the role to ensure the coordination and harmonization of clearance processes at the country's ports of entry.


The project is in its second year and its first stage of implementation is set to be launched by the end of September 2023. The first phase saw an intensive mapping exercise and integration of all key processes on the Single Window platform.


The major beneficiaries of the single window initiative will be importers and exporters, shipping and freight forwarders, the transport sector, customs administration as well as government departments and agencies, whose mandate includes the movement of food, drugs, health, agricultural-related products, and environment.


Once the initiative is commissioned, clients and stakeholders will not be moving from one agency to another as all the regulatory and transitory services, processes and payments will be done online through a single platform, thus faster, better, and transparent.


The major benefits of the Single Window will be compliance among agencies, more efficient and productive use of resources, enhanced collection of fees, duties, and penalties; streamlined and automated compliance to transitory, legislative, and regulatory requirements, and most importantly predictability, convenience, and efficiency to all actors in cross border trade.


Other benefits include enhanced risk analysis, improved security, reductions in corruption and illegal trade activities, enhanced transparency, ease of access to trade statistics, and accountability.


The ZeSW rides on a robust digital platform and ZIMRA is already activating its system in readiness for the integration and data processing from other agencies.


The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is supporting the ZeSW project as part of the harmonization of the customs service delivery initiative.

Other countries that have successfully implemented the single window concept include Jamaica, Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya.