The World Customs Organization (WCO), in cooperation with the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and the Regional Office for Capacity Building for East and Southern Africa (ROCB ESA), organized a WCO Regional Workshop on Transit in Kampala, Uganda, from 20 to 22 February 2015. The event was held under the sponsorship of the Japanese Customs Cooperation Fund (CCF/Japan). Some 20 WCO Members from the ESA region, experts from three Regional Economic Communities (RECs), namely the East African Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADEC), the International Trade Centre (ITC), the European Union (EU), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the region’s private sector participated in the Workshop.
Mr. Richard K. Kamajugo, Commissioner of Customs, URA, welcomed participants and gave an opening address during which he stated that effective transit operations were important to ensure regional integration and economic development. He also pointed out that due to recent and continuous efforts to improve border procedures, Uganda had been transformed from a landlocked country into a land-linked country.
The Workshop was aimed at exchanging technical views on effective transit regimes to promote further regional integration and over 20 presentations were given by participants. They discussed various topics such as effective information exchange, regional bonds/guarantees, e-tracking systems, Customs escort, ongoing regional initiatives such as Single Customs Territory, and Coordinated Border Management including One Stop Border Posts (OSBPs). On the third day of the Workshop, URA organized a field trip to Malaba Customs border post during which participants toured the new Customs building and saw the new OSBP facilities on both the Kenyan and Ugandan sides of the border. These facilities will open in June this year. In addition, participants visited the URA’s Central Monitoring Centre (CMC) which handles electronic tracking of transit cargo.
The Workshop proved very informative for all the participants and the resulting information will be included in the next edition of the Transit Handbook and shared with other regions.