A “Pool of Trainers” and training materials developed for Africa through the WCO/JICA Master Trainer Programme

17 June 2024

Under the auspices of the WCO/JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) Joint Project and with the kind host of Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS), the final Working Group activity (WG5) of the Master Trainer Programme (MTP) on Rules of Origin (RoO) for English speaking was held in Gaborone, Botswana from 20 to 31 May 2024.

The MTP aims to establish self-sustainable and autonomous training capacity in key Customs work areas in the participating regions by developing a pool of well-qualified trainers and training materials/programmes that meet regional needs. To this end, the MTP trains the same nominated participants (WG members) from the participating Customs administrations through five working group (WG) sessions and intersessional activities for 2-3 years.  About 150 Master Trainers (MTs) were developed by June 2021, and more than 49,000 people received training from MTs in 2018-2023.

Twenty-five WG members from 13 WCO Members participated in the working group activity: Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

At the opening ceremony, Ms. Jeanette Makgolo, Commissioner General of BURS, and Mr. Tonokawa Hiroyasu, Resident Representative of JICA Botswana Office, highlighted the key role of Rules of Origin in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for the continent’s economic growth.

During this final WG activity, the fifth in a series of progressive training activities, the WG members conducted a training session in a real scenario for certification as Master Trainers (MT) once they were recognized as having sufficient capability. To this end, the activity’s first week was conducted in collaboration with the BURS, who invited 39 participants from its Customs administration, and the MTP WG members conducted training sessions for them. WCO and Japan Customs experts greatly assisted WG members in successfully conducting their training sessions.  

Following the successful completion of the training sessions for the BURS invitees, all 25 MTP WG members were certified as Master Trainers. These MTs will actively conduct capacity-building activities as regional assets.

At the closing ceremony, the Acting Commissioner of BURS, Mr. Tonokawa Hiroyasu, Resident Representative of JICA Botswana Office, Mr. Christopher H Onyango, Director Trade and Customs of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and Ms. Hildah Moleofe, Chief Technical Advisor of Southern African Development Community (SADC), emphasized the importance of AfCFTA for regional integration and encouraged the MTs to actively engage in the capacity-building activities.

Following this workshop, the successful MTP WG members attended a WCO pre-accreditation workshop on RoO, held at the same venue from 27 to 31 May 2024. All the participants demonstrated their competencies as expert trainers on RoO and were evaluated by experts from the WCO’s Tariff and Trade Affairs Directorate and the Capacity Building Directorate. 

The successful participants of the pre-accreditation workshop will be invited to the next stage of the WCO expert accreditation process, consisting of field missions as pre-accredited WCO experts in RoO, to achieve full accreditation to support future WCO capacity-building activities. The workshop was a significant achievement towards the implementation of the WCO’s capacity-building strategy, as it will increase the pool of experts capable of independently leading training and technical assistance activities on behalf of the WCO.

For more information, please contact capacity.building@wcoomd.org.