Rules of Origin Africa Programme Advances Rules of Origin Competency in Botswana

05 December 2023

The World Customs Organization (WCO), under the framework of the EU-WCO Rules of Origin Africa Programme, funded by the European Union (EU), held a Virtual Basic national training workshop on rules of origin from 27 November to 1 December 2023 for Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS). The workshop was attended by about 26 Customs officials from various units and border stations within the Customs Services department.

This workshop is a first of a series of training sessions confirmed in the workplan for Origin competency development under the partnership between the EU-WCO RoO Africa Programme and BURS. The main objective of this workshop was to assist BURS officials and the private sector in enhancing their knowledge of preferential rules of origin, with an aim to prepare them the advanced and train-the-trainers workshops to be conducted subsequently. The focus was on their ability to understand and apply the rules related to origin, especially considering the implementation of AfCFTA Rules of Origin.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Jose Angel Marta Becerra, representing the EU Delegation to Botswana and SADC, highlighted the significance of rules of origin competency in Africa. He emphasized the EU's commitment to promoting African economic integration and outlined the achievements of the EU-WCO Rules of Origin Africa Programme. These include Regional Capacity building in the Eastern and Southern African (ESA) region, the development of practical and quick guides on AfCFTA rules of origin, and a Comparative Study on Applicable rules of origin in ESA region. Mr. Becerra announced that the Programme would conduct an in-person advanced training in rules of origin in February 2024.

In her opening remarks on behalf of the Acting Commissioner Customs, Ms. Bophone M. Selebatso, Customs Manager for Classification, Valuation and Origin, expressed gratitude to the WCO and the EU for building expertise on rules of origin in Botswana. She underscored the significance of these rules in international trade and urged participants to use the training as a platform for deepening their understanding of the rules of origin.
During the workshop, participants focused on origin determination concepts and efficient management practices. WCO facilitators introduced the Revenue Package initiatives, aimed at assisting Members in applying provisions of Free Trade Agreements. Challenges in implementing trade agreements and the status of the AfCFTA were discussed, along with issues like certification and preferential verification.

The EU-WCO Rules of Origin Africa Programme will continue its collaboration with BURS to enhance Customs officials' knowledge of rules of origin through capacity building for the efficient implementation of free trade agreements, and establishment of pool of experts and trainers that could further support with sustainable competency development at national and regional levels.

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