WCO SG participates in Virtual Talk organized by Kenya Revenue Authority

17 June 2020

At the invitation of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya spoke as panelist at a live Webinar organized by the Kenya School of Revenue Administration (KESRA) on 16 June 2020. The KESRA is one of the four WCO Regional Training Centres for the East and Southern Africa (ESA) region. The virtual talk was part of KESRA’s Economic Dialogues series and the topic of this webinar was "A thought leadership perspective on the status of Customs and Global Supply Chains: the context of the COVID-19 Pandemic". The webinar was moderated by KRA’s Commissioner and Head of KESRA, Dr. Fred Mugambi and the other panelist was the former Deputy Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission and former Secretary General of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), H.E. Erastus Mwencha.

At the beginning of the webinar Dr. Mikuriya expressed his thanks to the organizer for the invitation to virtually address an audience comprising of representatives from Customs, Academia and policy makers from the ESA and other regions. He went on to explain the effects of COVID-19 on borders and its impact on Customs administrations. While many borders are closed or the movement of people is restricted for on the health reason, they are kept open for the flow of medical and other essential goods. Customs officers therefore have a duty to not only safeguard the supply chain but protecting it from health risks. In response, the WCO has collected and shared best practices of Customs administrations around the world to mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic, and has provided relevant guidance in collaboration with international organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), and maintained the dialogues with the business community. Dr. Mikuriya envisioned the establishment of resilient supply chain supported by technology and trust in the post COVID-19 environment.

H.E Mwencha talked about the economic effects of COVID-19 and indicated that regional integration embodied in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) could be the way forward to address the concerns raised by the Pandemic.

Dr. Mikuriya concurred and mentioned the progress made in the ESA region with regards to integration and connection with external markets. Both panelists called for the strengthening of cooperation for a better world and appreciated the discussions. In conclusion, Dr. Mikuriya praised the webinar initiative as a good model for all the WCO regional entities to follow.