SADC launches Electronic Certificate of Origin

14 September 2022

Upon the invitation of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), The World Customs Organization participated in the launch of the SADC electronic Certificate of Origin held under the theme “Enhancing trade facilitation through the SADC Electronic Certificate of Origin” on 6-7 September 2022 in Blantyre, Malawi. The meeting was held in a hybrid format and was attended by Commissioners of piloting Customs administrations from Eswatini, Malawi, and Zambia as well as Trade Experts from partner organisations such as WCO ESA -ROCB, the WCO, EU and the GIZ, among others.

In his opening remarks, Mr. John Biziwick, the Commissioner General of the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), highlighted that introduction of the e-Certificate of Origin would increase the seamless flow of intra-trade across the SADC region by eliminating impediments caused by the manual processing of certificate of Origin.

The SADC Secretariat called on the SADC Member States to ensure improvement of their digital systems for efficiency in trade facilitation and ensuring low costs of doing business which in turn will lead to efficient revenue collection.

The recently launched e-CoO is intended to address the challenges encountered with manual Certificate of Origin by simplifying customs procedures, enhancing e-Commerce, eliminating fraud, improving record management and statistical data, reducing cross-border certificate verification time, and reducing the cost of doing business.

This meeting was a unique opportunity for the EU-WCO RoO Africa Programme to engage and exchange with SADC secretariat, experts and development partners to align the programme support in a complementary manner, hence further contributing to effective implementation of the SADC e-certificate of origin in pilot countries and the other SADC members. The Programme, in its vision of continental harmonization will be exploring and projecting the lessons learnt from the experience in SADC in the work with other Regional Economic Communities and under its support to the implementation of the AfCFTA RoO.