WCO supports Single Window implementation in Malawi

23 March 2018

The World Customs Organization (WCO) conducted a National Single Window (NSW) workshop at Blantyre, Malawi from 12th to 16th March 2018, under the framework of the Mercator Implementation Plan for Malawi, designed to provide sustainable, tailor-made and results-based capacity building support to enable effective implementation of trade facilitation measures. The workshop was co-organised by the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), with the support of the WCO-HMRC-UNCTAD project and the World Bank.  With the imminent launch of a NSW initiative in Malawi, this was a timely opportunity to familiarize Malawian border regulatory agencies with international standards and best practices in NSW establishment and management.  In this respect, the WCO took the opportunity to pilot a new e-learning product on Single Window, which is expected to be available to all members through the CLiKC platform in mid-2018.  The workshop was attended by a high-level delegation from the National Revenue Authority of Sierra Leone.  Sierra Leone is undergoing a similar set of modernizations, and sought to benefit from this Customs-to-Customs dialogue which is foundational to the WCO’s capacity building approach.

In her inaugural speech Deputy Commissioner General of MRA highlighted the Government of Malawi’s commitment to streamlining cross-border procedures and reducing trade and transaction costs.  The Government of Malawi has already taken steps to streamline the number of agencies at the country’s borders, and this workshop was the opportunity to address critical implementation challenges in this process re-engineering.

35 officials from senior and middle management of  MRA and other cross-border regulatory agencies (CBRAs), including the Ministries of Trade, Industry and Tourism ; Agriculture ; Finance ; Mines; National Parks & Wildlife; Malawi Bureau of Standards ; Pharmacy Board ; Road Authority ; Department of Electronic Government ; Tobacco Control Commission; Border Police/Immigration and operational managers from different functional areas of Customs and major inland ports/airports/border posts, participated in the workshop.

The main objective of the Workshop was to provide CBRAs with the WCO’s perspectives and domain knowledge on the Single Window implementation, taking into account the experiences and best practices from other countries that have successfully implemented similar business process reengineering and ICT solutions. The workshop also sought to provide essential technical delivery and advice in relation to conceptualization, design and planning of NSW so that Malawi Government agencies are best prepared for the visioning process being organised by World Bank for designing the blue print for Malawi NSW.

The WCO experts presented various WCO instruments and tools relevant to trade facilitation that provide guidance to government agencies and private trade partners, including Coordinated Border Management (CBM), Integrated Risk Management and Data Harmonization supported by case studies from different countries, highlighting challenges faced and the trade facilitation innovations adopted in the design and implementation of the Singe Window environment. In addition, the participants carried out the exercises for data harmonization for NSW and identification of various CBRA procedures and documentation required for import-export in Malawi at various stages of the supply chain.

The workshop was successful in building the momentum under the Malawi and Sierra Leone Mercator Implementation Plans, delivering tailor-made capacity building support in response to articulated member needs.  The workshop proved effective in enhancing the technical capacity of key CBRAs to contribute actively and effectively to the World Bank-led visioning and planning exercise for the Malawi NSW. The quality of recommendations from participants highlighted their strengthened confidence in addressing matters of NSW design, implementation and management.  It also represented a successful collaboration between the WCO and the World Bank, working collaboratively to reduce poverty, promote economic growth and building a secure business environment for economic development through Malawi’s enhanced integration into global supply chains.