A concrete step ahead on sustainable HS classification capacity in East Africa

12 September 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 regional workshop for Master Trainers on HS Classification in East Africa was held in Kampala, Uganda, from 4 to 8 September 2017.  This is the last workshop in a series of 3 activities on HS Classification, jointly supported by JICA and WCO, which aims at developing (i) a pool of well-experienced trainers and (ii) training materials including case studies to be used by those trainers.  The “Master Trainers”, as they are known under the Project, have already been actively contributing to the capacity building of both Customs administrations and Customs agents in East Africa.  They have also developed a series of case studies which reflect the HS Classification challenges and concerns faced by the Customs administrations and Customs agents in East Africa to enhance their training capabilities and efficiency.

Twenty-five (25) Customs officials from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda participated in this workshop and worked intensively to review the case studies developed under this Master Trainer Refresher Programme with the advice of experts from both the WCO and Japan Customs, as well as the cooperation extended by JICA under its Project on Capacity Development for International Trade Facilitation in East Africa. All the participants exchanged their views, experiences and ideas for the improvement of the case studies and completed their work during the first half of the workshop. 

The second part of the workshop included a 3 day training delivery sessions to which 19 Customs officials and 26 customs agents from Uganda were invited as trainees.  All 25 Master Trainers took responsibility to act as trainers and facilitators during those sessions.  The case studies completed during the first half of the workshop were immediately utilized for the training and contributed significantly to improving the understanding of invited trainees.  The positive outcome of this training demonstrated the great value of the materials, as well as the value of WCO/JICA collaboration on this matter.  

In addition to those activities, experts from Japan Customs also shared their knowledge and techniques on the effective planning and delivery of training.  

Throughout the 5-day workshop, the Master Trainers successfully demonstrated their ability and knowledge to act as trainers.  At the end of the workshop, they developed a delivery plan for training on HS Classification for their respective administrations.   Both WCO and JICA welcomed their strong ownership and commitment clearly demonstrated during the workshop which will improve their training delivery capacity through the Master Trainer Programme.   It is expected that the training materials and case studies developed will contribute further to fair and efficient revenue collection and trade facilitation in East Africa through sustainable and self-contained capacity building on HS Classification.