Successful Conclusion of the Trade Facilitation and Border Control in East Africa with full support and collaboration of the WCO

07 March 2022

Five Customs administrations in East Africa, namely Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, organized its Regional Joint Coordinating Committee (RJCC) meeting of the “Project on Capacity Development for Trade Facilitation and Border Control in East Africa (TF & BC Project)” virtually on 25 February 2022. This Project, whose original one started in 2007, has been implemented by the five Customs administrations with the support jointly extended by the WCO and JICA in cooperation with Japan Customs.  With the aims at improving efficiency of border procedures and enhancing border control, the five Customs administrations have made continuous collaborative efforts under the Project on (1) effective One Stop Border Posts (OSBPs) operation, and (2) Customs capacity building on three areas, namely (i) risk management (RM), (ii) post clearance audit (PCA), and (iii) Program Global Shield (PGS). 

The fifth RJCC meeting in last June was organized to confirm the achievement made through the Project particularly on Customs capacity building component completed in June 2021, although the Master Trainer Programme (MTP), which is the one of the main product of the TF & CB Project in the field of Capacity Building, has been succeeded and carried out in cooperation with the WCO/JICA Joint Project which covers East, Southern and West African Members and the Pacific Islands.

The 6th RJCC meeting this February was to confirm the achievement of OSBP part of the TF & CB Project. The meeting was chaired by the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) and was attended by Commissioners General, Commissioners Customs and other senior officials from the five Customs administrations, the WCO, the JICA and Japan Customs.  WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, represented the WCO and addressed at the opening of the meeting. 

In his opening remarks, touching that the OSBP has been referred in the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the WCO Secretary General expressed his respect for the experience of East Africa such as successful operationalization of OSBPs and Single Customs Territory and encouraged East Africa to share these achievements with other parts of Africa. He also praised East Africa for its series of successes in Capacity Building activities such as MTP, where about 140 Master Trainers in key Customs matters have been developed, which has helped WCO’s vision of developing a pool of experts in each region and has also led to the launch of the MTP on Rules of Origin in Africa last year to support the implementation of the AfCFTA and expanding the coverage to cover the  Pacific Islands with 2 new MTPs on HS classification and Customs Valuation.  The WCO Secretary General assured that all activities taking place are conducted in full coordination among development partners. 

Finally, Dr. Mikuriya expressed his sincere appreciation to the RJCC Members for their commitment and for the progress accomplished in Customs modernization in Africa, including both JICA and recipient Administrations; he invited them to stay in contact to keep the momentum and follow-up in the future to explore the potential of Africa for its sustainable development.

The Members of RJCC meeting commended the good achievements made by the Project for contributing to sustainable development of East Africa and expressed their appreciation to the WCO, JICA and Japan Customs for the quality support offered and expressed their expectation to continuous collaboration, followed by their acceptance of the completion report of the project . 

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