Another effective step forward in the development of the RoO pool of experts in East and Southern Africa

05 January 2024

Under the auspices of the WCO/JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) Joint Project and with the kind host of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) represented by the Kenya School of Revenue Administration (KESRA), the fourth Working Group Activity of the Master Trainers Programme (MTP) on Rules of Origin (RoO) for East and Southern Africa was held in Mombasa, Kenya, from 4-8 December 2023. The same group of Master Trainer candidates who participated in the previous three Working Group (WG) activities from thirteen Customs administrations in East and Southern Africa, namely Botswana, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe got together again for this sub-regional activity.

This WG activity was the fourth in a series of progressive activities for the MTP on RoO. The Master Trainer Programme aims to develop sustainable training capacity within the Customs administrations by developing 1) a pool of well-experienced trainers and (2) regionally featured training materials and programmes to be used by these trainers. The MTP on RoO also aims to support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). To this end, the MTP trains the same nominated participants (WG members) from respective Customs Administrations through 5 working groups and intersessional activities for 2-3 years. In addition, the MTP on RoO, which started in September 2021, is intended to cooperate with African WCO Members to support the smooth implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

This workshop comes after the MTP WG4 for West Africa that was held from 20-24 November 2023 in Cotonou, Benin. The result of work related to the development of training materials on RoO featuring the AfCFTA was passed to the WG participants in Mombasa, where further review and improvement were carried out to complete the final draft of the consolidated materials. During the workshop, twenty-five (25) RoO officials worked intensively to finalize the development of training materials and teaching slides. Experts from the WCO and Japan Customs facilitated various sessions and shared their valuable knowledge and expertise with the WG members (participants). Once finalized, this material will cover the RoO technical matters and accelerate and support the implementation of the AfCFTA. The participants demonstrated their commitment to the MTP and actively participated in working sessions and discussions during the five days of the workshop.

Both the WCO and JICA welcomed their commitment and positive approach to ensuring the long-term sustainability of capacity building within their organizations. At the end of the workshop, WG members revised their work plan towards the final working group activity, WG5, which is expected to be held in early 2024. Meanwhile, their development journey will continue intersessionally.