WCO Single Window and Data Model Workshop held in Kigali, Rwanda

02 April 2014

A workshop under the third component (Coordinated Border Management) of Finnish funded WCO ESA Project ‘Building Trade Capacity through Customs Modernization in the East and Southern Africa Region’ was held between 26thand 28thMarch 2014 in Kigali, Rwanda. The well attended workshop was in response to the need in the ESA region of Government officials well versed in Single Window and Data Model matters. Rwanda was chosen to host the workshop as it is one of the few countries in Africa with an operational SW system and only the second in the region to have implemented it.

The participants included officers from diverse backgrounds, and consisted of officials from Customs, as well as Immigration officials, Ministry of Trade officials, Private Sector Development and Reform Programme representatives, Standards and an official from Agriculture and Livestock from eleven countries. The workshop further strengthens the ongoing implementation of the WCO Capacity Building Strategy, especially in the ESA region.

The workshop was officially opened by Mr. Christian Nizeyimana who represented the Acting Commissioner Mr. William Musoni. Mr. Nizeyimana who is the Project Manager in charge of the Rwandan Program also gave an interesting presentation on Rwanda’s journey towards SW implementation and Risk Management. He expressed his administration’s early frustrations before an idea was hatched to implement Single Window in 2005. The idea turned to fruition in 2012 with the implementation of the Single Window System. He was happy that the system was implemented despite the many hurdles they faced and which are continually faced by many Governments in Africa. He thanked the WCO and Finnish Government for their support and lauded the WCO for the help extended through the implementation period as well as the tools and instruments availed to members and especially the WCO Data Model for its important role in harmonization of documents and procedures.

The Project Manager Ms. Riitta Passi in her remarks, thanked the participants and the administration of the Rwanda Revenue Authority for making the Workshop a reality. She briefly described the components of the Project and how it will contribute to the modernization efforts of the Customs administrations in the region.

The dialogue was facilitated by Mr. Donald Tan and he was supported by Ms. Anoushka Permaloo and Mr. Giandeo Mungroo of Mauritius Revenue Authority. Mr. Tan made his remarks on behalf of the WCO and welcomed the participants and assured them of an interactive, informative and engaging workshop.

The three day workshop was topically divided with Coordinated Border Management on day one and Single Window and Data Model on day 2 and 3. The participants felt that the hands on training they received on WCO Data Model really needed more time but appreciated the learning experience. The program was interspersed with experiences from Rwanda, Mauritius and Finland on Coordinated Border Management.

Theworkshop was officially closed by the Commissioner - General of the Rwanda Revenue Authority Mr. Richard Tusabe who was the previous Commissioner of Customs. In his remarks, he gave special insight into the implementation of Single Window Systems in Africa by stating the importance of private sector buy-in and involvement of other stakeholders. He emphasized that Customs cannot walk alone on this journey and there was a need for extensive communication between Customs Administrations and all private and public sector stakeholders.