ESA Region members gather to drive customs modernization processes

24 November 2016

Under the auspices of the WCO Vice Chair for East and Southern Africa (ESA) region and the Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB) of the region, and with the support of Mauritius Revenue Administration (MRA), a series of meetings were successfully carried out in Port Louis, Mauritius, from 3 to 11 November 2016.

The Heads of Regional Training Centers (RTC) held their half-year meeting, incorporating the, 25th Regional Steering Group (RSG) meeting. This was followed by a two day session for the Working Group (WG) on Regional Strategy Development.

The ESA RTC Heads meeting took note of several outcomes, which were formulated in the form of recommendations to the RSG. In summary, the meeting noted that a number of activities had taken place as reported in the RTCs’ action reports. A common challenge of the RTCs is related to funding, and that issue should be mitigated to enable them to fund their programmes. The participants agreed that the roles of the RTCs go beyond hosting regional activities and called upon each RTC to actively position themselves as leaders in their respective areas as Centers of Excellence and as such supporting the various Members allocated to each RTC.

With respect of the RSG, the meeting explored the status of the Decisions of the 21st Governing Council held during the month of May this year in Lesotho. The RTC Heads noted with satisfaction the pre-launch of the new WCO ESA ROCB website and the support provided by CCF Korea. They acknowledged the publication "Trade Facilitation in East and Southern Africa" from the 1st Regional Research Conference to researchers.

The WG for the development of a new Regional Strategy and Implementation Plan focused their efforts on revising the strategic objectives taking into account current & emerging issues such as, among others, the Trade Facilitation Agreement, Digital Customs, Illicit trade, and Customs and Tax Cooperation.

Several activities linked to the agendas of the regional economic communities were identified by the WG. This will facilitate Members’ involvement in the development of the strategy while reducing the risk of duplication of activities.

The WG agreed that further work should be carried out by a Strategy Virtual WG, in order to support the continuous progress of a comprehensive strategy.