WCO Successfully Assesses the Malawi Revenue Authority’s People Development Foundations as a Strategic Contributor to Trade Facilitation

27 March 2019

The coming-into-force of the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA) and the wider challenges of Customs reform and modernization requires Customs administrations to constantly adapt their management and operational models.  Of particular importance is the management of human resources in the face of more complex, analytical and forward-looking competencies that are needed to meet this challenge.  Recognizing the underlying importance of human capital development, the 2017 Mercator Implementation Plan for Malawi prioritized support for stronger organizational foundations, along with a greater appreciation of the imperatives of continuous professional development and competency-based management.  On this basis, the WCO successfully delivered a People Development Diagnostic for the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) from 11 – 15 March 2019.

The People Development Diagnostic, as part of the WCO’s Organizational Development Package, provides for a baseline assessment of strategic orientation, competency and job profiling, planning and performance management, training, career path development, remuneration and benefits.  The analysis also helped to identify the critical competency gaps within the context of the MRA’s modernization and reform programme, including those that are needed to successfully implement the TFA, such as operational analytics, audit, risk and data management. The diagnostic team held in-depth discussions with MRA interlocutors including Human Resources and Organizational Development, Internal Affairs, Internal Audit, Modernization, Policy and Planning, along with front-line Customs staff at the Mwanza border post.  All stakeholders showed a high level of commitment and offered important insights.

To provide an immediate, low-cost foundation for the development of critical TFA-related competencies, the mission also oversaw the launch of a national e-learning platform, leveraging the resources of the WCO’s CLiKC community, while taking into account the documented benefits of blended learning.  With this new national platform, MRA will be positioned to take greater ownership of its competency development agenda.  This strategic intervention by the WCO is expected to provide the foundation for several follow-up initiatives that will work to strengthen human resources processes and capabilities in keeping with the WCO’s Framework of Practices and Principles on Customs Professionalism.

This mission was made possible with the generous financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Finland and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) of the United Kingdom.