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Successful launch of the WCO-ESA Project II with the support of Finland

07 febrero 2017

WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya visited Mombasa, Kenya to attend the launch of the WCO-East and Southern Africa (ESA) Customs Capacity Building Project II on 7 February 2017. 

Following the successful completion of the Project's first phase (Project I) which focused on enhancing Customs capacity (2012-2016), the second phase of the project (Project II) will aim "to progress the trade facilitation agenda within the framework of the WCO Mercator Programme 2016-2019", with a 3 million euro budget funded by the Finnish Government. The Project is intended to benefit the 24 Member countries of the WCO ESA Region.

In his opening speech, Secretary General Mikuriya stressed the key role played by Customs in economic competitiveness, revenue collection and protection of society from illicit trade, and appreciated the positive outcomes of the WCO-ESA Project I in improving the efficiency of Customs, particularly with respect to enhanced border management.

WCO Secretary General thanked the Finnish Government for its continued support in the region by funding this second phase of the Project through the Mercator Programme that was launched in 2014 to support governments in implementing, in a consistent manner using WCO tools and instruments, trade facilitation measures including the ones prescribed under the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). 

Dr Mikuriya further stated that, as the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation is about to enter into force, the launch of this project is timely in the light of the political support to the Customs community for its modernisation efforts in collaboration with other border agencies and the business community.

Representing the Finnish Government, H.E. Ambassador Tarja Fernandez, and Customs Director General Antti Hartikainen spoke about their intentions to support the ESA region while, from the ESA region, Commissioner Tom Moyane of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) in his capacity as WCO Vice-Chair, and Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection Julius Musyoki of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) talked about their willingness to maximise the benefits that they receive from the Project.

All the participants of the Steering Committee, coming from Angola, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, the WCO Secretariat and the ESA Regional Office Capacity Building (ROCB), appreciated the warm hospitality of the KRA and the ROCB Director Larry Liza.

The event benefited from wide media coverage.