Continued cooperation of WCO and Swedish Government supports Customs’ efforts in the implementation of the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation

25 febrero 2014

The Secretary General of the World Customs Organization, Mr. Kunio Mikuriya, is pleased to announce the signing of a new agreement with Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) to continue Customs modernization and reform in Sub-Saharan Africa. The new agreement is a continuation of the collaboration between the two partners initiated in 2008. A new substantial contribution from Sweden will allow the important work on economic development to continue until 2018. On the occasion of signing the agreement, Mr. Mikuriya expressed his high appreciation to the Swedish Government: "This new agreement is the result of long-lasting and close co-operation between the WCO and the Swedish government. It is also one of the first contributions to the WCO by a development partner directly linked to facilitating global trade since the signing of the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation in Bali last December, and it will certainly assist many countries in the implementation of this Agreement."

The new agreement consists of four major components for comprehensive Customs reform and modernization: the East African Community (EAC), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Great ANimals and INtegrity (GANIN) in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). Based on sound organizational and Human Resource development, trade facilitation components are included in all areas, including stakeholder engagement, IT connectivity, risk management, post-clearance audit and implementation of regional Authorized Economic Operator or Preferred Trader schemes.

Sweden has been a strong partner in the Customs Capacity Building work of the WCO for many years. " The work done by the WCO capacity building programme is very important towards the achievement of a region-wide goal for customs cooperation and modernization. Customs reforms are important vehicles for trade facilitation within the African regions and as such, a key element for economic growth. African ownership and commitment has been vital parts of this success and Sweden is pleased to have contributed to successful development in the EAC, SACO and ECOWAS regions and to have WCO as a development partner in these efforts of strengthening regional integration in Africa."

Further information on the Project components can be obtained from the WCO Capacity Building Directorate of the WCO (capacity.building@wcoomd.org).