WCO and JICA jointly support EAC Customs to address new challenges through Risk Assessment and Selectivity

29 May 2017

Under the auspices of the WCO/JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) Joint Project, launched in July 2016 to support trade facilitation in Africa, a WCO/JICA Joint Sub-regional Workshop on Risk Assessment and Selectivity for EAC Partner States was held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, from 16 to 19 May 2017. Twenty officials responsible for customs risk assessment and selectivity from five Revenue Authorities (RAs) of the EAC partner states, namely Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, got together in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and worked intensively during the 4-day workshop for the improvement of risk management towards a better balance between trade facilitation and Customs control in East Africa. 

Customs administrations all over the world must respond to emerging needs and challenges as diverse as the terrorist threat and the expansion of e-commerce.  In addition, RAs in East Africa are working together to maximize the benefit of the latest developments in the region, such as the implementation of the Single Customs Territory (SCT) and the introduction of the Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS).  In this global and regional context, effective Risk Management and regional cooperation are becoming more critically important than ever.

Responding to needs expressed by the RAs in East Africa, the workshop was designed in such a way as to introduce theory as well as practice on effective risk assessment and selectivity of sea, air and land cargo.  Experts from the WCO and from Japan Customs provided input from global and national perspectives.  During the workshop, the experts gave a number of presentations introducing the theory and the good practices of risk assessment and selectivity.  The presentations were followed by practical exercises with a view to help the participants apply the introduced risk management practices in their operations in the future. 

The participants were first grouped per country in order to understand the basic theory based on the unique operational environment of each RA.  However, recognizing the importance of regional cooperation and networking, the participants divided into mixed groups as the workshop program progressed.   In addition, the five RAs shared with each other information on their respective risk management structure, framework, strategy and practices, in order to understand each other better.   

Throughout the 4-day workshop, participants actively contributed to the program by sharing their issues and challenges.  Both WCO and JICA welcomed the level of participation and their enthusiasm.  At the end of the workshop, participants were again regrouped into the “country group” and revisited their respective risk management recommendations they made in 2015 taking into account the lessons learnt from this workshop.

Both the WCO and JICA welcomed their hard work which demonstrated the strong ownership of RAs, enabling sustainable enhancement of risk management in East Africa.